So you can read my books

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

WHY DO YOU WRITE? Ghost H L Mencken here

{"For every difficult problem there’s a solution that’s simple, neat and wrong."
- H. L. Mencken.}

I never expected to be a ghost. But then, I never expected to be aware of surprise or anything else after death.

Life had been an endless source of surprises. I should have expected the same thing of death.

Samuel Clemens has asked me to step in for Roland on his blog.

It seems the young man is off in the blinding night rain, delivering rare blood to a distant rural hospital.

I was delighted. A blog is much like a newspaper column but without the scant pay and worse deadlines.

Better I get to ask questions of my readers. Such as why did you start to write? What keeps you at writing? What shore are you heading your prose craft to?
To be fair I will tell you of my feelings towards writing :

1.) "Words are veils."
It is hard enough to put into them what one thinks. It is a sheer impossibility to put into them what one feels.
Such skepticism, however, never keeps me from trying.

2.) Writing is a lonely profession.
Chandler was right. But don't tell the sourpuss that. He's hard enough to "live" with as it is.

The writing profession is reeking with this loneliness.

All our lives we spend in discoursing with ourselves. . . . The loneliest people in the world we writers are.

Except that, while we are conversing and laughing with ourselves, we manage to shed our loneliness . . . to scatter it as we go along.

That is the express reason why your blogs are so important. They are a chain of linked spirits holding on to one another through the darkness of the cyber-void.

3.) Persistence in writing is dedication for me. Vanity for you.

I jest of course. It is how we ghosts keep from going totally mad.
Why, then, do rational men and women engage in so barbarous and exhausting a vocation?

What keeps them from deserting it for trades that are less onerous, and, in the public eye, more respectable?

The answer, it seems to me, is as plain as mud.

An author is simply one in whom the normal vanity of all men is so vastly exaggerated that he finds it a sheer impossibility to hold it in.

His overpowering impulse is to dance before his fellow men, flapping his wings and emitting his defiant yells. It appeals to the little child in all of us creative beings.

This being forbidden by the Polizei of all civilized countries, we take it out by putting our yells on paper or on the computer screen.

Such is the thing called self-expression. Such is the genesis of blogs.

4.) The Worth of Blogs : Education.

Education in the truest sense --
education directed toward awakening a capacity to differentiate between fact and appearance --

always will be a more or less furtive and illicit thing, for its chief purpose is the controversion and destruction of the very ideas that the majority of men --

and particularly the majority of official and powerful men --

regard as incontrovertibly true. To the extent that I am genuinely educated.
I am suspicious of all the things that the average politician believes and the average pedagogue teaches.

Progress consists precisely in attacking and disposing of these ordinary beliefs.

5.) Why I "ghost"-wrote for an unpublished writer at the request of Samuel Clemens :
How could I not?

what a man Mark Twain is!

How he stood above and apart from the world, like Rabelais come to life again, observing the human comedy, chuckling over the fraudulence of man!

He regards all men as humbugs, but as humbugs to be dealt with gently,
as humbugs too often taken in and swindled by their own humbuggery.

Clemens is in a dark mood that Chandler's past writing upset some. I tried to comfort him with the fact

that any man who afflicts the human race with ideas must be prepared to see them misunderstood.

I reminded him that the great artists of the world are never Puritans,
and seldom respectable.

No virtuous man - that is, virtuous in the Y.M.C.A. sense -

has ever painted a picture worth looking at, or written a symphony worth hearing, or a book worth reading.

*) Feel free to disagree with me. I am but a ghost.

I am often wrong. My prejudices are innumerable, and often idiotic.
My aim is not to determine facts, but to function freely and pleasantly -

as Nietzsche used to say, to dance with arms and legs.

Let me know why you write, why you continue to write despite rejections from agent or publisher, and what is your ultimate goal for your novels.

I'm truly interested. Just walk out into the moonlight and whisper. I am a ghost I will hear.


  1. Hi, Roland,

    A new ghost friend? What fun.... I love meeting new ghosts. Hi, H. L. Glad you got to fill in for my dedicated friend. He is truly a wonder. Driving the day and night delivery precious blood when he could be curled up with a good book in bed.

    Why I write? Well in my case I came to writing when my regular career crashed. I needed a new creative outlet and I was always able to "spin a good tale" at gatherings and such, so I decided to write my first novel.

    An AVID Rowling fan, my first book HAD TO BE a kid's fantasy. I also had the fun of illustrating the whole book from cover-to-cover, something I hadn't done since I had left college.

    Now writing is a part of me. I miss it terribly when I can't write. It is part of my soul now.

    Soon I will return. I have MANY ideas that need to be expressed. Expression of one's ideas and passions is what writing is to me.


    Thanks for always being there for me. I appreciate it so much, especially now.

    I hope you are well and the gravity of your situation is in remission. Please keep me posted. I may be INSANE, but I am always an email away.

  2. I write because I must. My characters cannot tell their story to any but me and they deserve to have it told. Therefore, I have purpose. ;)

  3. Hi, Michael:
    It is so good to see you here chatting away over the cyber-fence. I've missed you.

    Things are still insane sadly. Now, the landlord is giving me new opportunities to grow stronger! LOL.

    Yes, for us both, I think writing has become a part of us. I hope your work challenges are getting smoother or at least nearing completion.

    I still envy you all those trips to the theme park, THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER. But I am glad you got the chance to go when your health was good enough to truly enjoy it.

    The ghost of H. L. Menchken chuckles a hello back to you. The ghosts seem taken with me for some reason. And my blog is better because of it!

    Did you read where Christine Rains is doing a blog and Amazon review Thursday for END OF DAYS? Great news!

    May your mid-week be great, Roland

  4. Heather:
    It does seem like my characters talk to me all the time. Perhaps, as with you, I am the only one who can hear them. Nice thought.

    Great luck and sales with TO RIDE A PUCA!! Roland

  5. Words are my best friends. They comfort me when I am down and keep me grounded. Why do I write? Ghosts my friend...ghosts and friends :)

  6. Siv:
    Ghosts? Then, you've come to the right place. Seriously, I know the caring heart carries too many ghosts, so I can only imagine the ghosts that reside in the shadowy corners of your mind. Take care. Come back, Roland

  7. Oh Mr. Mencken, you seem like a very wise man, calling me out on my naked dancing like that!

    You know though... I never find writing lonely. Maybe it is because of the networking now, but I more often feel like life has too many people demanding my time... (though the ONLINE people I love--I can pace myself with those as I like, it is the real life sort I can't control)

  8. Blogs are a chain of linked spirits, here to support and encourage.
    Oddly enough though, I never feel lonely when writing. I wonder that that means?

  9. Hart:
    H.L. found writing lonely because of the age in which he lived. Also he believed, like Hemingway, that there is no more alone spot than in front of the typewriter (keyboard) and a blank page (screen) and grasping for the right words. Also to be a writer is to see life in ways many others do not in your daily life. That is lonely. It means a lot for you to visit on a day when so much good news is making your head spin, Roland

    Each of each is different and so find writing different I would imagine. Thanks for visiting!