So you can read my books

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


We write.

We strive.

We bleed the ink the page before us has been needing.

And for what?

That answer determines the manner in which we write :

hurried to meet some self-set goal


focused like light through the prism of our soul to cast the light of our dreams

onto an imagined page some unknown reader will read, becoming lost in our imagined worlds :

"To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement.

To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence,

is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself...

Anybody can have ideas--

the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph."

- Mark Twain in a letter to Emeline Beach, 10 Feb 1868.

Will we be understood?

Thomas Bailey Aldrich, in a review of Emily Dickinson’s poetry published anonymously in the Atlantic Monthly, January, 1892 :

"But the incoherence and formlessness of her —

I don't know how to designate them — versicles are fatal….

An eccentric, dreamy, half-educated recluse in an out-of-the-way New England village (or anywhere else) cannot with impunity set at defiance the laws of gravitation and grammar."

Whose name is familiar to you : the poet's or the reviewer's?

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

- Emily Dickinson

Have you noticed that much of the fiction out there has become more and more stylised, more and more cut off from ordinary feeling?

Is it that so many have come to regard everything in the world around us as fiction.... All the structures in it, flyovers and motorways, office blocks and factories, are all part of this enormous novel.

And since all those around us are mere backdrop in the fiction of our lives, they cease to become living, hurting, feeling individuals.

Ernest Hemingway wrote :

"Writing, at its best, is a lonely life.

Organizations for writers palliate the writer's loneliness, but I doubt if they improve his writing.

He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates.

For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day.

You know that fiction is possibly the roughest trade of all in writing.

You do not have the reference, the old important reference.

You have the sheet of blank paper, the pencil, and the obligation to invent truer than things can be true.

You have to take what is not palpable and make it completely palpable and also have it seem normal and so that it can become a part of experience of the person who reads it."

Why do you write?

To touch one human heart?

To impress someone who may not even be alive, or if alive, does not see you as your dreams and soul truly are?

To make the bestseller lists?

To become wealthy and famous? To support yourself comfortably?

To tell the stories that burn to come out and sigh in relief as you type them into being?

Why we write determines how we write and how much pleasure we derive from it/

What do you think?


  1. Hi, Roland.

    Terrific question. Why do we write? Of course this is a very personal question and it's different for every writer.

    Many of us have a burning in our souls to write. However some, like me, have come to write for a different reason.

    Originally my intention was reinvent myself and career. To illustrate again, and to create the story I wished to illustrate.

    Then something happened. I found out I had a passion for it and LOVED it!

    Even though I have my design career moving up again, I miss writing terribly. I need to return to it, and SOON!

    So even if I don't have that bestseller. I did realize one thing in my journey. I do have a moderate talent for writing and I do enjoy it, and for now that is enough to keep be striving to write that bestseller one day.

    I hope you are doing well my friend. We both seem to be in a turbulent situation right now and hopefully it will calm soon.

  2. Michael:
    Yes, I expect there are as many different answers to my question as there are writers!

    I am glad your design career is taking off again. It is like finding a new job. When you have a job already, it seems easier to find a new one. So I hope now it will be easier for you to to become published.

    I pray that you will have that bestseller. And your talent for writing is not moderate. You have great talent.

    Yes, we both seem to be in the maelstrom of life right now. My head is light from it sometimes!

    Thanks for visiting so late and still taking time to chat awhile over the cyber-fence. Good to "see" you as always!! Roland

  3. Love that Emily Dickinson quote. I don't read the classics as I should, and never remember quotes. I skill I'd love to have.

    Writing for me is an expressive outlet, but I wish I was more dedicated to the craft. Maybe someday I'll be able to devote my full time to it :)


  4. This is definitely a question that keeps coming up time and time again. Michael is right, we all have our own personal reasons for wanting to write. For me, it's not only because I absolutely love doing it - it's something I would miss horribly if I had to stop - but also it's because I want people to enjoy what I write. Even just one person.

  5. Donna:
    I try to read snippets of classics daily. There are four volumes I read through: A POEM A DAY which helps with poetry. That way I don't have to have an encyclopedic memory! The habit also gives me a bit of beauty to start the day each morning.

    I think all of us would love to be able to make writing and reading our full-time vocation. I know I do.

    Again, congratulations on having another short story accepted into an anthology!

    I am with you and Michael. The answer to why we write differs from writer to writer. Our answer determines whether we quit when no one buys our work or we continue on in our love for words and spinning a tale in the darknesss. Thank you for answering and caring, Roland

  6. "To tell the stories that burn to come out and sigh in relief as you type them into being?" ~Gosh, this is profound. Often being the way I feel when I write.

    I love the Hope is the thing with feathers video. Dickenson was / is amazing to read.

    Without sound hokey or weird, you my friend are one of the great. You possess the voice like that of many of the world's best known writers. Hemingway would be moved. I'm positive his spirit smiles each time you quote him.

    Writing for me isn't about fame, although I wouldn't turn it down. It's a flame in the spirit that won't go out. It burns internally, scalding me each time I try to ignore it. It's a mark on my soul, branded from the beginning. It is who I am, what I am. Besides, I'm enjoying the ride. In the end, isn't that all that will matter? :)

  7. Wonderful quotes, Roland. I write because I hope to gift a story to others that will take them away to a world of my making, for a few hours.

  8. I think if it was for the money, no one would choose this career! But there's so many other reasons. For me it's a way of keeping my mind ticking over, exploring what makes us human, and if I get to leave something behind me that strangers can pick up and connect with, that would be amazing.

  9. This is a wonderful, thought-provoking post. I've been suffering from the loneliness of writing lately, but it does seem to be the best way to focus. :p

    As for why, I suppose all of those reasons apply at some time or other. Even the one about dead folks. I often wonder what my grandmothers, both avid readers, would think of me. :D Hope you're well~ <3

  10. I'm writing because I enjoy the process, the creation and the layering of the story, and seeing it through to completion.

    Writing has always been there for me. Writing fiction is where I explore my imagination and, it's a lot cheaper than therapy.

  11. Candilynn:
    There are rejecting agents the country over who would disagree with you!

    But your words made a weary evening much, much better. Now, to live up to them! LOL.

    Hope Is The Thing With Feathers is one of my favorite Emily Dickinson's peoms.

    To be what we were shaped to be, to sing the songs burning to come out ... that is all we can do. But I agree with you, I wouldn't turn down fame and fortune if it came my way!

    Just to be able to support myself by my writing would be a true dream come true.

    What size T-Shirt do you wear? I am considering making a few black T-Shirts with the art from THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH on it if the price is not too outrageous!

    You already have gifted me with such a story with your post of your mother today.

    Wouldn't it be great for a stranger to write you, saying how much one of your novels touched him or her?

    And using Samuel McCord, who no longer feels human, I, like you, explore what it means to be human. Alice Wentworth in END OF DAYS served that exact purpose, too.

    I feel strongly that both your grandmothers would be proud of your writing. If still alive, they would be urging all their friends to buy your books!! Thanks for asking about me. I am overworked as always!! :-)

    LOL. Yes, it is more affordable than therapy. I write for your same reasons. To spin tales of light in the darkness. Thanks for visiting and chatting. Roland

  12. Ah Roland, you old devil. I must come to your blog more often. Here I get a healthy dose of inspiration. Dickinson, Twain, Hemingway, Yeomans. Yep. Been gone too long.

    I write because the story burns so brightly in my mind that I can't see beyond it until I get it down. Then it takes on a life of its own.

    Only today, a great wind filled my near-foundering writing sails, giving my story new life and my heroine an entirely different background story. Go figure. But I like her better now, and didn't realize until today that she was a bit of a loser before.

    It also gives her another layer. I shiver in anticipation thinking of getting intimate with those kinds of details. Because I have a passion for research and learning new things. It's another reason I write.

    But mostly, I write because the voices make me.

    It's the truth. :)

    Thanks for being here, Olivia

  13. Olivia:
    Good to see you again. I try to be entertaining and helpful in my posts, making my cyber-home comfortable to visit.

    I have a friend who wears a shirt reading, "You're just jealous because the voices talk to me."

    Of course, those voices are not the same as you and I hear as authors!

    My characters are my family in a strange sense. One day I may well wake up in the haunted jazz club, Meilori's. There are worse fates! LOL. Please come and visit more often, Roland

  14. OMG! I would love a t-shirt sporting Victor & Alice!! Black is good. One of my favorites to wear. :) Adult Medium is comfy. :) I WILL pay you for the t-shirt. And, I think you should get a few made up and sell them here on your blog. Victor fans would love his mugshot on their chests. I mean shirts. :) What a fantastic idea! Whenever I find t-shirts at bookstores, I snatch them up in a heartbeat.

    I don't care what rejecting agents say, Hemingway is smiling, still.

  15. Thanks, Candilynn:
    Come this Thursday (my next paycheck), I will order you Victor's black T-Shirt in medium. The source I've found is bit expensive so I do not think our friends would be able to afford a shirt. But yours is free, for all your support.

    And Hemingway is gruffing smiling ... at you. Sigh. I get no respect from my ghost friends! :-)

  16. Your generosity is admirable, Roland. I know someone who runs an embroidery shop here in our hometown. They'll make t-shirts on a whim for me, reasonably priced. If the artwork is digitized, and on a cd or can be emailed, they can screenprint almost anything. Just let me know and I can look into prices.

    Also, come Monday, I'll be purchasing 3 copies of End of Days for my contest to give away as prizes. :)

  17. Thanks, Candilynn:
    I may take you up on that offer. I would like to give away black T-Shirts with the artwork of THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH on the front.

    I think Leonora Roy's artwork is stunning, and I would like to it give it more exposure than my anemic sales for the book.

    I truly thank you for the purchase of the 3 copies of END OF DAYS Monday. If several of my other friends would buy copies of END OF DAYS Monday, Victor might even get on Amazon's top 100. You are a Super Trooper, Roland