So you can read my books

Thursday, December 31, 2015

NEIL GAIMAN & MARK TWAIN on the New Year to Come!

{Neil and his beloved dog, Cabal, who died in 2013.
Neil said "I found him by the side of the road, and we rescued each other."}

“I hope you will have a wonderful year,

that you'll dream dangerously and outrageously,

that you'll make something that didn't exist before you made it,

that you will be loved and that you will be liked,

and that you will have people to love and to like in return.

And, most importantly

(because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now),

that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes,

then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself,

changing yourself, changing your world.

You're doing things you've never done before,

and more importantly, you're Doing Something.

So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself.

Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes.

Make mistakes nobody's ever made before.

Don't freeze, don't stop,

don't worry that it isn't good enough,

or it isn't perfect, whatever it is:

art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you're scared of doing, 

Do it. 

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

Be kind to yourself in the year ahead.

Remember to forgive yourself and to forgive others.

It is too easy to be outraged these days, so much harder to change things, 

to reach out, to understand.

Try to make your time matter:

Minutes and hours and days and weeks can blow away like dead leaves

with nothing to show but time you spent not quite doing things

or time you spent waiting to begin.

Hug too much, smile too much,

and when you can ... love."

 {Samuel Clemens in 1867}


Territorial Enterprise, January 1, 1863


"Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions.

Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.

Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink, and swore his last oath.

To-day, we are a pious and exemplary community.

Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds

and gone to cutting our ancient short comings considerably shorter than ever.

We shall also reflect pleasantly upon how we did the same old thing last year about this time.

However, go in, community.

New Year's is a harmless annual institution,

of no particular use to anybody

save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls, and humbug resolutions,

and we wish you to enjoy it with a looseness suited to the greatness of the occasion."


The shades of years past watch us.We, of the modern age, stumble and bumble our way,

sure of our sophistication and education.

But what if there are principles of which we are unaware that take no notice of our ignorance of them ...

only chastise us when we break them.

After all, gravity takes no breaks ...

it only gives them

Take "First Foot,"

a custom concerning the first visitor of the New Year to a home.

His function is to bring prosperity and good fortune for the ensuing 12 months to those he visits.

He comes just as soon as possible after midnight, bringing gifts which symbolize plentiful food, health, and wealth. Sometimes he carries an evergreen branch as a symbol of continuing life.

Strict rules govern the choice of First Foot:

Male always for he symbolizes the New Year.

No redheads need apply.

The luckiest representative is a dark-haired stranger, symbolizing a new year full of undiscovered mysteries.

An old form of First Foot has the visitor entering silently,
greeted by none.

He goes straight to the hearth, laying the evergreen branch on the fire and a sprig of mistletoe on the mantle above.

Then, he turns and greets those living in the home, and festivities ensue.

I wonder what thought first visited the homes of our minds last year?

Did it symbolize the atmosphere, the temper of our thoughts for the remaining 12 months?

What thought do you think should first visit your mind this New Year? What First Foot will be your physical first visitor?

Can you remember who first entered your home last January? Did he or she reflect the luck and temper of the following 12 months?

Just thought it would be fun to think on these questions, Roland

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Although many of us do not admit to it, we do believe or follow some superstition at one time or another.

Knock on wood?  

I do, usually have to resort to knocking on my head, the universality of plastics you know.

Have you known people to stop a dog from howling to prevent death or 

to get married on a rainy day to insure a long and happy marriage?

 New Year’s Eve also has its fair share of strange myths and weird superstitions 

that are followed by many around the world. 

Here are a few:

1. No sweeping on New Year’s day.  

They say that it is an ominous act and can sweep away the good luck of the entire family.

Well, why not? Anything that keeps you from the nasty chore of cleaning is welcome, right?

 2. Wearing new clothes on New Year's Eve.

 They believe that it ensures a constant supply of new clothes for the whole year to jazz up the wardrobe.

 3. No empty pockets
There are people who insist that one should take care to avoid wearing a dress with empty pockets on New Year’s Eve 

since it may be a sign of very low or no income in the year to come.

4. Say no to chicken
If you cook any chicken dish on New Year’s day, you will have monetary troubles for the rest of the year.
So now you know who is responsible for all your financial troubles this year… 

Colonel Sanders!

5. Don’t do laundry
They say that if you do your laundry, you will certainly wash off your luck or will face a year of hard work. 

Even more ominous, doing laundry on this day is also associated with facing a family member’s death.
What can I say? These myths sound like work-relieving fun to me!

6. Don’t cry, honey!
The wise men (and women) say that one should not be miserable on this day and neither should one cry because that depression will follow you in the year to come.

So, wipe away those tears and be happy! After all, it is a new beginning.

7. Be Scrooge on New Year's Eve!

You should not give your cash, ornaments, precious items or other valuable things to anyone

 on the first day of the year because it may be a sign that wealth will be flowing out in the entire year. 

So, hang on to your cash until January 2nd!

8. Make noise and hang a lemon at New Year's Eve.

Have you ever wondered why there are fireworks on New Year’s Eve? 

It is to scare away the evil spirits and evil thoughts. 

Even hanging a lemon in the doorway helps in warding off bad spirits.

* The First Foot of New Year has a whole post coming soon here. 

Do you know of any New Year's Eve superstitions?

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


So this is today ...

   and I am both happy and sad, wondering how that can be.

This photograph of Chief Big Foot left dead and frozen in the snow 

will forever be etched in the minds of American Indians

 as a reminder of the inhumane treatment rendered to their ancestors by the federal government.

Estimates are some 300 men, women and children were killed at the Wounded Knee Massacre today in 1890.

It need not have happened.  

But hate looks the same as everyone else until there are no witnesses.

It is important to always remember what happened by the hands of evil men 

because evil men still exist today. 

Even now, there are evil people who spew out hatred against others 

who may not be their same race, color or religion today.

has a new web page out:

Now available on

A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens, recorded live by Robert Rossmann. 

Soon to be out on audio by Robert as well: 


I've just finished page 65 of my new Opus!

The grey clouds swirled angrily, silently, looking as if God had burned the sins of yesterday, casting them to the winds.  Meilori hugged my arm.  
 I looked down, watching her silently, effortlessly holding my universe together.    
Sometimes I can feel my heart straining under the weight of all the lives I’ve taken.   
Then, I look into her slanted eyes, jade quarter moons waiting to rise, and the world makes sense again.
I looked away from her as if she were the sun.  Yet, I still saw her, like the sun, even without looking.  Love is like that.
“Beloved,” she sighed.  “One day your compassion will be the death of us.”
I nodded.  “All my futile efforts to make the world better: a dream, a dream … that most like will end in nothing, leaving me where I laid down.”
I bent my head, kissing her soft lips lightly.  “But I wish you to know that you inspired it.”
Meilori turned wet eyes away from me, and Sammy said from behind us, “I reckon that in a sense, Lady Meilori, we are all each other’s consequences.”
“Just so,” she murmured.  “Just so.”
Meilori sighed, “We cross our bridges as we come to them and burn them behind us, 
with nothing to show for our efforts except a memory of the smell of smoke, and the heat at our backs.”


Saturday, December 26, 2015


One of the great things about love ...

is that it grows in ever larger ripples when shared.

One shares with another, then that heart touched by love shares, too.

One becomes two. Two becomes four. And four becomes eight.

Not every heart which receives, gives, of course.

Who of us has not received compassion and felt the better for it?

We are let into a busy traffic line, and we wave thanks.

But do we give it? Do we let another in somewhere else down the line?

Or do we just go on our way, too much in a hurry to return the favor to a stranger?


Have we received compassion, wisdom, kindness repeatedly from a friend, but then have been hurt by that same friend?


Can we find it in ourselves, that after taken so much, to give one thing ...

the benefit of the doubt,

to trust in the past acts of friendship to give ...


That is the secret of Boxing Day, 

celebrated in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Bermuda, and the United Kingdom ...

to give from the surplus that we have received on Christmas Day.

One of the clues to Boxing Day's origins can be found in the Christmas Carol, "Good King Wenceslas."

Wenceslas, who was Duke of Bohemia in the early 10th century, was surveying his land on St. Stephen's Day — Dec. 26 —

when he saw a poor man gathering wood in the middle of a snowstorm. Moved, the King gathered up surplus food and wine

and carried them through the blizzard to the peasant's door.
Christmas love and magic is better when shared. 

Just like laughter is somehow more than doubled when the joke or funny movie is shared with a friend.

What is more beautiful than a unicorn in the snow?

Two unicorns racing through the flurry of snowflakes together.

Thursday, December 24, 2015


Han and the gang have said it all for me.  

May your dreams find new life this new year.  

And may only happy surprises be yours this Christmas.  

Your fellow dreamer, Roland

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


There are moments that happen that change how you look on life and on what is and is not possible.  
You are never the same afterwards.  

 The Nativity was one of those times.

 There is even a word for this situation: “Liminality.” 

“Liminality” is the word for the threshold moment: 

from the Latin root limin, meaning the centerline of the doorway.

Liminality is the moment of crossing over. 

It describes the transitional phase of personal change, 

where one is neither in an old state of being nor a new, 

and not quite aware of the implications of the event. 

All the stages of life include liminality

Life is nothing but moments of crossing over. 

Liminality is why we celebrate Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve but not other holidays’ eves.

We celebrate Christmas Eve 

because Jesus is traditionally thought to have been born at midnight.  

And we celebrate New Year’s Eve because midnight is when the year changes. 

Christmas Eve is a threshold moment.

We can choose to stay on the other side of the moment, 

refusing to enter and accept what gifts await us.

After all, for most of the world there is still no room in the Inn for He who breathed the world into existence.

Christmas Eve is the time to reflect on what awaits us beyond whatever threshold we choose to cross ...

to reflect on what thresholds we thought would always be there but now are gone, 

along with the mortal hearts that waited for us beyond them.

Whatever you believe, 

it can be a healing thing to take Christmas Eve to reflect on all the gifts given to you this past year

and on what needs exist in your surroundings that you can be an agent of healing by meeting. 

Christmas Eve revives the wonder of childhood 

where snowflakes sing on their way down to the ground, 

where faeries ice skate on bird baths, 

and magic waits for us to open the door of our hearts to let it in.