So you can read my books

Monday, July 25, 2016


The ghost of Raymond Chandler sat in the leather chair stroking my cat, Midnight, 

who was more than a little rattled to be that close to a ghost.
"I looked you for you all weekend, son.  But you were off on your blood runs.  

You do know Lincoln died to end slavery, don't you?"

Midnight squirmed and popped out of his arms, and I said, "Saturday was your birthday, wasn't it, sir?"

"Yes, and Clemens and Hemingway threw me a party 

where Clemens insisted on only talking about himself and Hemingway kept challenging me to box.  

I pulled out my automatic and both of them became blessedly scarce!"

"Ghosts can kill ghosts?"

"You wrote GHOST OF A CHANCE about it, remember?"

"Even put you, Mark Twain, and Hemingway in it, too."

Chandler nodded, 

"Like me, you sneaked into it a quality which readers would not shy off from, perhaps not even know was there … 

but which would somehow distill through their minds and leave an afterglow."

"I tried."

Chandler shook his head, 
"November is coming where many of your friends will try to vomit as many words as they can a day."

He snorted, 
"I took four months to distill my first short story.  Four months.  I continued to work with painstaking slowness when I began to write novels.  

I believe that all writing that has any life in it is done with the solar plexus. It is hard work.” 

Midnight, over his fright, jumped back into his lap as Chandler continued, 

"Ten years after my first story was published, I was still on the breadline with four novels behind me."

He sighed, 
"I began to wonder if the effort had been worth it. 

But by 1945 cheap reprints of my books were selling in their hundreds of thousands, 

and the critics who had hitherto ignored me were vying to outdo each other with superlatives." 

Chandler snorted, "The world is simultaneously a horrible and beautiful place."

His words made me think of what he had his detective say in THE LONG GOODBYE:

  “I hear voices crying in the night and I go see what’s the matter. You don’t make a dime that way… 

I’ve got a five-thousand-dollar bill in my safe but I’ll never spend a nickel of it. 

Because there was something wrong with the way I got it. 

I played with it a little at first and I still get it out once in a while and look at it.” 

I thought to myself as I watched him pet Midnight 

that the best we as writers can do is make the most of our books, trying to make poetry out of the pulp of our dreams.



  1. Hi Roland - we can only do our best, when we put our best into our work, and we need to keep trying ...

    Keep writing, not tinkering, but we need the action to get going ... a solar plexus hit - not helpful, but a mental one ... to jolt us forward into action ...

    I'd be happy for a Midnight type of Solar Plexus 'whack' ... as she settles on my lap - but that wouldn't get me up and running ...

    The brain needs to whirr, to settle and our fingers need to write and turn those magic words into our books ...

    Cheers Hilary

    1. If in each endeavor we do our best, our best will become better, right? Midnight waves a paw in greetings. :-)

  2. All we can do is our best to make our vision come alive for others.

    1. If nothing else, we will have fun casting our worlds into being. :-)

  3. "vomiting out words" I like that. I haven't tried that particular activity because I know the results would be awful. I have to think about what I'm doing. I would love to be doing that right now, but this will be a summer of blogging only. I'm counting the days until September and lovely, wonderful school for my dear little ones.

    1. The teachers may be having the opposite feeling! :-) Writing is purpose seems to me more important than writing for speed.

  4. As I embark on writing my first book I am full of excitement and trepidation, but one thing is certain - I will give it my all and I won't rush it. :)

    Susan at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

    1. I wish you the best of luck with your first book. But you are a veteran of so many articles that I foresee few problems for you. :-)