So you can read my books

Monday, January 26, 2015

ROLAND'S 8 SIMPLE RULES_Share Your Thoughts Blog Hop

Hosted by Jamie Ayres to celebrate the release of 18 Thoughts, the third installment in the "My So-Called Afterlife trilogy."

 Jamie says:

"Each person participating will post a thought (belief) that has defined their life, their way of thinking. Post up to 18 if you’re feeling adventurous and post any time between Jan. 21 and Jan. 28. I’ll pick 2-3 winners each day."

Upon reading about Jamie's bloghop on Alex's own fine blog:

I decided to write about my own 8 Simple Rules -- not for reward --

Like my hero, Victor Standish, I run for the fun not the glory --

lucky for me, considering my dismal sales!!

Some years back, I read an article entitled "Rules That Warren Buffet Lives By."

 No, not the guy who sings "Margaritaville." 

Though I suspect Jimmy has more fun than Warren despite Warren being one of the wealthiest men in the world.

There was obvious merit to them. He didn't get the wealth he has by chasing the wind.

 But the phrase "lives by" bothered me. As King Solomon wrote: 

"Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter. The advantage to wisdom is that it also remains when all else is gone."

And in thinking about that quote, the time came to mind when my home had burned to the ground. 

My dog, my cat, my possessions 

{the most dear being the Bible my mother had given me with her thoughts, doubts, and funny one-liners scribbled in the margins} were gone. 

My savings had been wiped out by trying to pay my mother's medical bills from her fatal struggle with cancer 

so there had been no home insurance. 

My face and hands were badly burned from crawling back into my house in a vain effort to save my cat. 

I was living in the back of a massage school, courtesy of a good friend.

I remember sitting on the corner of the bed, after having talked to my best friend, Sandra Thrasher

She and I had our stores next to one another for years in the Mall. 

After she had moved out of the Mall, we remained close friends. She helped save my sanity in that black time. 

And another thing saved it: remembering something Viktor Frankl had learned in a Nazi concentration camp :


"Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."

I also remembered reading in that day's newspaper that the TV show EIGHT SIMPLE RULES had just gone into pre-production. 

And it puzzled me what I would say were my EIGHT SIMPLE RULES to live by. 

I took out the only scrap of paper I had to my name, a Hallmark store envelope from the "Thank You" card I had bought for Sandra. 

I thought for a good bit, then I wrote them down.

I thought you might be interested in what they were. So here they are.


1) Since everyone is having a harder time than they appear, 

be as kind as you can to each person you meet. You'd feel really lousy if you had made a bad day worse for someone who had been through the wringer, wouldn't you?

2) When faced with two paths, the more uncomfortable one is usually the right one to take.  

And try not to hurry so down whatever path you take. If you're heading in the wrong direction, going faster won't get you where you want to go any sooner.

3) When faced with a major decision, take overnight to decide.  

If pressed by someone to make an immediate one, always say "No." If they don't want you to have time to think it over, guess to whose benefit that is?

4) No battle goes as planned. Especially the Battle called Life.  

Expect things to go wrong. That way if they go right, you'll be pleasantly surprised.

 Commit yourself to staying flexible. Bouncing is better than breaking. And as no battle goes as fast as you'd want, learn to be patient or you'll become one.

5) If you treat people as extensions of yourself, you will always be lonely, 

for you will become the way you look at life -- alone in the sandbox of life with unfeeling toys called people.

6) Don't get mad at the sun for being hot. 

People will always be true to their natures. It's not their fault you mistook their iron for steel. So don't get mad at the rust in the lives of others. 

Don't blame the rain for being wet. Just get an umbrella and get on with it already.

7) Always keep your walk in sync with your talk. 

Divorce your ways from from your words, and the alimony payments will be bitter indeed.

8) Always stand up to a bully. Always deny him what he demands. 

Yes, you will get beat up more times than you want. But physical bruises heal. Some emotional ones never do. 

If you let them, bullies steal that which is difficult to replace: self-respect, pride, affection for yourself {and in turn, for others - one stems from the other}, and inner peace.

*) What did Susan Sontag say? 

"I envy paranoids. They actually feel people are paying attention to them." 

Hope someone is paying attention to this list and gets some use out of it. If only to laugh.  

For Chrys Fey:

* Hurricane Crimes (short story)

* 30 Seconds (novella) NEW!

Read Six Pages Now -


  1. You certainly went through the wringer. Sorry you lost that Bible.
    Your eight simple things are most honorable. I like number six - it's like the thing about the scorpion. Don't be mad when he stings because that's what he does.

  2. Alex:
    My friends started to call me Job after my car died after that! I grieve over losing that Bible too. :-(

    Yes, the scorpion will always sting. Sadly, human ones don't always advertise their natures!! :-)

  3. Very good rules. Working in social services, I know the value of being kind to others, there is always someone having a bad day and not handling it with a smile. Sometimes a thoughtless person can bully someone who is too distraught to defend themselves with a thick skin.

    So sorry about your life getting ruined like that. You have had a lot of unpleasantness in your life. Hope all is going well now.

  4. Donna:
    Working in Social Services, you must sometimes get worn down by it all. My prayers and heart are with you there! Bullies seem to sense those who will not fight back. It is so very sad.

    I learned that is the people in your life, not the possessions, that make up the treasure of your days. I am having a ... unique time as always! I hope your new year is doing well! :-)

  5. Though things have been rough, it is wonderful that you have the ability to see beyond the possessions lost and look to so much more.

    Your first simple rule is one I'd like to latch onto, if that's okay. As it happens, being the kindness in someone's day can be the trigger to a positive pay-it-forward.

  6. This is a great set of rules. I like number five. People are always more important than possessions and your story demonstrates that completely.

  7. Angela:
    I'd be honored if you snagged #1. Things are so rough for so many. Being forcibly evacuated from Lake Charles was scary, but my friend/supervisor Freddie looked out for me. And the experience gave birth to FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE!

    Odd Thomas once told a killer who lavished love on his antique car: "Too bad it can't love you back."

    Thanks for visiting and chatting. :-)

  8. A great set of rules. Not always easy to follow - but more than worth the effort.

  9. Wow! Your rules are amazing. Something everyone should read and follow. I'm so sorry that you went through that. I'm terrified of fire because I almost lost my home when I was younger. I would definitely try my hardest to save my cats.

    Thanks for including the note about my eBooks!

  10. Hey Roland. Words of wisdom from someone who's been through the fire. I love Frankl's words, too. Suffering certainly either makes us better people or it kills us. I choose the former.
    Hope all goes well with you, my friend. Thanks for sharing your rules. :-)

  11. Elephant's Child:
    I fumble those rules more times than it is comforting to think about. But I try. :-)

    I was glad to do that about your ebooks. I sometimes wake up with a start, imagining that I smell smoke. My cat scratched me that morning for the only time in her life to awaken me to a carpet of flames rolling over the ceiling above me. Brrr.

    I choose the former, too. I certainly have memories: being evacuated a few years after the fire, my whole city on the run from a category 5 hurricane.

    I pray all goes well for you, too! Just thought my rules fit the blog hop. :-)

  12. You've truly been through a trial by fire, haven't you? And in return you have wisdom to give us all. I especially like Rule #1, but on a visceral level #8 works for me because I fight bullies whenever I can. It's the Irish in me. But what's more important right now is that you and your life just keep getting better and better, Roland dear.

    The Susan Sontag quote is great. I never knew that she had a sense of humor.

  13. I love your rules! I'm going to print them and hang them up!! You've been through so much, but you've come through the fire like gold :-) Thanks for playing.

  14. Helena:
    I am part Irish, part Lakota so there is a resistance in me to bullies, too! :-) Susan Sontag's quote is proof to me that we never quite know the people we think we do! Thanks for being my friend!

    I was happy to play. And it means a lot that you will print up my rules and hang them up! Sometimes I feel like Fool's Gold!! :-) Best of luck with your book!