So you can read my books

Wednesday, September 7, 2011






- John Masefield

Yesterday, William Faulkner talked of how fear binds your prose. Today, I will speak on how the soul frees it.

The only philosophy many learn is the one they see on the small screen or large. Those tales stem from the screen play – the written word.

William Faulkner wrote many such in Hollywood.

But remember : Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth.

Louis Lamour wrote that his friend was any book that gave him a new idea or a new slant on an old one.

The words of a story confirm the readers’ prejudices or opens a window to a broader view of a world than can never be fully grasped.

If our words are shoddy, vulgar, then we help cheapen the minds of those who read them.

If we speak of struggling hearts in conflict with themselves then we speak to the bruised soul searching for itself.

Great joy makes us love the world, but it is suffering that makes us understand it.

A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world. Everyone you meet is a mirror.

Books are the automobiles of the mind, the ships that transport us across the seas of imagination to ports filled with mystery, intrigue, and love.

Yet the cars of today seem but style-less boxes spat out by an industry concerned only with profit and fast turn-over. So, too, are the popular books of today.

If one would construct a car or a novel, one must understand the basic mechanics of each. Most of you already know how to write sentences. You must now learn how to write TRUE ones.

And what are true sentences?

Ones which speak the truths of the bruised heart and the searching soul. The irony is that people often say they have not found themselves. But the self is not something one finds.

It is something one creates with each step, each choice we make.

The hell to be endured after death is no worse than the hell we make for ourselves in this life by habitually fashioning our character in hurtful ways.

Such a person is always selfish. No matter how secret his ambition is, it makes him keep his thoughts at home.

But the heartbroken ones – whose hearts have been plowed by sorrow – they are the ones who give us consolation, compassion, and caring.

In short, success is to spend one’s life for something that outlasts it.

Writing true is a kind of magic. The magic of the child that still sits lonely and largely unheard deep within you.

What that child wanted long ago is what the child in all of us still wants : to be heard, to be loved, to feel safe … to laugh once again.

There are many paths that lead us away from that child, tangled ones which murmur false promises.

Fill your story with characters who have chosen different paths for the same lost destinations –

and bring them into conflict with each other and with themselves.

Do that and you will write a true story whose ending will surprise even yourself.



  1. Hi Roland .. that's a lovely picture .. so descriptive of the passage by Masefield, one of the few I can vaguely remember. Where did you get it?

    Love your thoughts on what a book should contain .. a story should tell - a new way, a new thought, a vision of a new way to look .. a different approach ... be individual.

    Thanks .. follow the dark tide to the light let the words flow in - cheers Hilary

  2. "A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world. Everyone you meet is a mirror."

    So true Roland.


  3. 'The self is not something one finds. It is something one creates with each step,'

    I get something out of every one of your posts Roland. Your words really do make me want to be better.

  4. Hilary :
    Sadly, I do not know the artist. I just google-searched for "Ship in storm" and was led to this image.

    I'm glad to find a comment from you. And I like to find something of worth in each book I read. I return to authors who give me that, so I think others will return to us if we but write in a similar way.

    Donna :
    My thoughts are a take on William James' philosophy. LOL. Yes, I am one of those poor souls that read philosophy for fun!

    Sarah :
    Something tells me that it is the precious spirit within you that urges you to become better with each breath. But your words made my morning, Roland

  5. "It is suffering that makes us understand it," how incredibly poignant and oh so true. This puts what we need to do in our novels into perspective nicely, and as always, you said it so eloquently. :)

  6. Heather :
    I'm glad we're kindred spirits. I feel that even in comedies, it is the suffering, the humanity, that makes the humor even more pronounced and connecting. Have a great mid-week, Roland

  7. The depth of your thinking and your skill with words mesh, giving us something worth reading.

  8. I've been gone too long - and have missed your wonderful prose. This is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing it! <3

  9. This is beautiful, eloquent and touching. I'm so glad I stopped by to read this today. Christy

  10. Letting you know Roland you have joint honour of being the Featured Writer at #RFWer again!

    Now what is happening for Lunch Date? Hmm.


  11. Denise :
    Wow. I am flattered and stunned at the joint honour. Thank you and Francine very much.

    Ah, the lunch date ... it is the deckside lunch on the day of the Ball of Love and Madness with some very illustrious diners ... along some dangerous ones, too, Roland

  12. Richard :
    Your words make a weary blood courier's night. Thank you, Roland

    Brenda Drake :
    I've missed you, too. How about this? You visit me, and I'll visit you. Now to squeeze 25 hours into each day! LOL.

    Christy :
    I'm glad you dropped by today and chatted, too. I've missed you as well!