So you can read my books

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

WHY YOU SHOULDN'T WRITE_ghost of Mark Twain

Humble genius that I am, I sometimes have my ghost teeth throb as I stroll down the aisles of bookstores.

I see one more cover with a bare chest of a fella without his head attached, 

I am going to become a poltergeist I swear!

And what's this you call "Flash Fiction?"

Why old Thomas Wolfe claimed surprise at a party that James Thurber called himself a writer since all he did were articles in The New Yorker.

Seems he felt that prose under 50,000 words was just doodling in words, don't you know?

Of course Old Fitzgerald told Wolfe that he was a notorious "Putter-in" whilst he was a "Taker-out!"

Now, Faulkner is nigh as humble as myself.  Whilst alive, he put together a list of the 5 best writers of the 20th Century.

Wolfe he put first.  Himself he placed second (snort).  Dos Passos he made third, followed by Hemingway and then Steinbeck.

Four of those five were putters-ins.  

Mencken told me that any soul that could think clearly could write clearly.  

But I do not think clearly.  My mind is such a hodge-podge that my thoughts run into one another all the time. 

 Must be where my migraines come from!

I hated parties so I used the time to write in my head.  

Why, I remember the time Livy tugged on my arm and said, "Youth!  Will you stop writing while a guest is talking to you?"

Suzy, my little girl, was once asked by a friend if I was taken ill.  

"No.  Papa is merely writing in his head again!"

But I digress ...

I started out to tell you why you shouldn't write:

1.)  You Ain't Good At It

Just because you can write doesn't mean you should!  

Why, I can sing up a storm ... and sometimes get a shoe thrown at me like a yowling stray cat for my efforts.

Now, I know you can write physically but can you make the words sing?

 Does your prose have that certain something? 

Are you gifted at showing not telling, or telling not showing, 

or creating an entire world that didn’t exist before that is born again when someone else reads your work?

{But here's the kicker: you won't know until you try.}

2.) It's Too Damn Hard

Think digging ditches is hard? At least you know when you are done.

 Writing is thankless work.

 It is like housework. It is like laundry. It is like a politician's lies. There's no end.

 There is always more.

 People may tell you that you are good, but you won’t believe them, 

or you will believe them too much, or you will not know who to believe, least of all yourself.

But if all that don't slow you down, then maybe you have the makings of a writer after all.

3.)  Money Is the Fool's Gold of Writing.

Writing is the fastest way to get broke I know.  Oh, but you will be the J K Rowling exception to that rule. 

Odds are against you, children.  

Writing is a roulette wheel, and it lands on every number but the one you picked.

If after all this, you still burn to be a writer ...

Why, all I can say is that you are a damn fool ...

like me ... 

Welcome to the club.


  1. I especially love the people who assume they'll be the exception to the rule that most writers don't make money. Everyone thinks he or she is different!

    1. Sad but too true. We must write for the joy of spinning our tales, for fortune is seldom waiting for us!

  2. Hi Roland ... yes, welcome to the club - but within that club we can learn, we read more, we debate and discuss ... we continue to write, we experiment ... and we are all fools - not dumb ones I hope. Here's to all authors ... cheers Hilary