So you can read my books

Thursday, September 9, 2010


{"For every difficult problem there’s a solution that’s simple, neat and wrong."
- H. L. Mencken.}

I never expected to be a ghost.

But then, I never expected to be aware of surprise or anything else after death.

Life had been an endless source of surprises. I should have expected the same thing of death.

Samuel Clemens has asked me to step in for Roland on his blog.

I was delighted. A blog is much like a newspaper column but without the scant pay and worse deadlines.

Better I get to ask questions of my readers. Such as

why did you start to write?

What keeps you at writing?

What shore are you heading your prose craft to?

To be fair I will tell you of my feelings towards writing :

1.) "Words are veils."

It is hard enough to put into them what one thinks. It is a sheer impossibility to put into them what one feels.

Such skepticism, however, never keeps me from trying.

2.) Writing is a lonely profession.

Chandler was right. But don't tell the sourpuss that. He's hard enough to "live" with as it is.

The writing profession is reeking with this loneliness.

All our lives we spend in discoursing with ourselves. . . . The loneliest people in the world we writers are.

Except that, while we are conversing and laughing with ourselves, we manage to shed our loneliness . . . to scatter it as we go along.

That is the express reason why your blogs are so important.

They are a chain of linked spirits holding on to one another through the darkness of the cyber-void.

3.) Persistence in writing is dedication for me. Vanity for you.

I jest of course. It is how we ghosts keep from going totally mad.

Why, then, do rational men and women engage in so barbarous and exhausting a vocation?

What keeps them from deserting it for trades that are less onerous, and, in the public eye, more respectable?

The answer, it seems to me, is as plain as mud.

An author is simply one in whom the normal vanity of all men is so vastly exaggerated that he finds it a sheer impossibility to hold it in.

His overpowering impulse is to dance before his fellow men,

flapping his wings and emitting his defiant yells.

It appeals to the little child in all of us creative beings.

This being forbidden by the Polizei of all civilized countries,

we take it out by putting our yells on paper or on the computer screen.

Such is the thing called self-expression. Such is the genesis of blogs.

4.) The Worth of Blogs : Education.

Education in the truest sense --

education directed toward awakening a capacity to differentiate between fact and appearance --

always will be a more or less furtive and illicit thing,

for its chief purpose is the controversion and destruction of the very ideas that the majority of men --

and particularly the majority of official and powerful men --

regard as incontrovertibly true. To the extent that I am genuinely educated.

I am suspicious of all the things that the average politician believes and the average pedagogue teaches.

Progress consists precisely in attacking and disposing of these ordinary beliefs.

5.) Why I "ghost"-wrote for an unpublished writer at the request of Samuel Clemens :

How could I not?

what a man Mark Twain is!

How he stood above and apart from the world, like Rabelais come to life again, observing the human comedy, chuckling over the fraudulence of man!

He regards all men as humbugs, but as humbugs to be dealt with gently,

as humbugs too often taken in and swindled by their own humbuggery.

Clemens is in a dark mood that Chandler's post upset some.

I tried to comfort him with the fact

that any man who afflicts the human race with ideas must be prepared to see them misunderstood.

I reminded him that the great artists of the world are never Puritans,

and seldom respectable.

No virtuous man - that is, virtuous in the Y.M.C.A. sense -

has ever painted a picture worth looking at, or written a symphony worth hearing, or a book worth reading.

*) Feel free to disagree with me. I am but a ghost.

I am often wrong. My prejudices are innumerable, and often idiotic.

My aim is not to determine facts,

but to function freely and pleasantly - as Nietzsche used to say, to dance with arms and legs.

Let me know why you write, why you continue to write despite rejections from agent or publisher, and what is your ultimate goal for your novels.

I'm truly interested.


  1. My goals for being an author are to have something more to pass down my family line- being published has a certain air about it, a seductive lure... blogging is just steps in that process and hopefully new friendships even through the rejections. I keep going because I know I'm good enough...

  2. as humbugs too often taken in and swindled by their own humbuggery....I just love that!!!!

    As a child, I would escape into my own world. I would listen to music and close my eyes and become someone else. That's usually where the stories come from.

    Some of them are pretty darn good, too. This one that's been rattling around in my head for about eighteen months now is, I think, pretty terrific.

    I really want to try and just do it for once...

    I hadn't thought about it, but it really is a bit vain, huh? I'm going to use a pen-name. That way, I can wear a big cheesy grin and still be under the radar.

    BTW, Isaiah is my favorite. It saved me. I'm gonna get a tatt, in Hebrew, on my wrist from a verse there.

    I don't know Mencken....but he brings up some interesting points...thanks!

  3. Good stuff here. I agree we must be prepared to be misunderstood anytime we "step out" right? Writing is a way of being out there in the world and not everyone will like us, nor will everyone get us. True, true! I think my reason for writing is my way of spreading hope. At least, "to inspire" is usually top of my list. Just something important to me, though I haven't explored why. I like to be the reason someone goes, "Wow... thanks for that." Or, "You really made my day." I have found it is usually through my writing that I achieve such responses. Now, I am going to attempt my first novel. SCARED. But willing. :) Thanks for askin'!

  4. Hi, I write because I love words and what they can be used to say. I enjoy expressing myself in writing, and I find it quite therapeutic. I have been writing for over 60 years (painting pictures with my words)and although none of it has been published until I began my blog three years ago, the stories have been rumbling about in my head for all that time. Thank you for such an excellent posting, friend! Best Regards to you, Ruby

  5. Ruby : I am really happy to hear from you once more. Like you, I love words, and I have been writing since I was a young boy. Have an excellent end week.

    JW : Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and Conan Doyle -- they all inspired me to spin my tales. I am interested in why you write and why you persevere. I'm in your corner, rooting you on.

    Words Crafter : I guess being in the school system, you feel you should fly under the radar. But wouldn't it be neat to go down a book shelf in BARNES & NOBLE and see your name on a spine of a book?

    Summer : Your talent shows on your blog, and I pray your writing dreams come true -- same for Words Crafter, Ruby, and JW. Wouldn't it be excellent to look at your bookshelf at home and see your own name staring proudly back at you from a spine of your published novel?

  6. Like most crafts, I write because I think 'how hard can it be?' - then I find out, pretty hard.

  7. Charmaine : Yes, my favorite authors made it look so easy. Then, I put pen to page and found out different!

  8. I don't really think about why I do it. I guess because I enjoy it and the challenge of it. And maybe I just want to see if I can pull it off, see if I can translate the ideas in my head onto the page.

  9. There are so many reasons I write that I think my head would explode if I tried to write them all down. I think I'm good at it. I write because I can say things in my novels I woulnd't naturally say to others. I write because I can give fictional character's ideas and opinions I may not share otherwise. I write because I can not stop the continual ooze that would otherwise drip from my mouth. In public, I am usually the last to speak, the last to have an opinion, but I'm taking it all in. Listening. Remembering. Storing it all way so I can pull it out when I need it.

    When I read "words are veils" it was so profound for me that I almost cried. Right after I read that, I felt compelled to write something - anything - that was the truth. I went and posted something for friday that is very much "unveiled". It's your fault, of course, and now I feel like running back and pulling it. Would that be the coward's way out? Probably. I guess that's why I write fiction, because reality is sometimes hard to take.

  10. Kafka said that the 'ghosts' beckoned him to write

  11. That quote about misunderstood ideas is fabulous!My new favorite quote!

  12. Because I need to and for so many reasons. Because I don't want to do much else most days (but have to.)

    I am playing catch up in bloggerworld, due to a very long 2 weeks. While I do, I hope you stop by my blog. I have something for you.

  13. Fabulous post! I KNEW there was a reason I work so hard to shed all evidence of respectability.

    I write because otherwise my head is too filled with chaos to cope very well. My thinking is much clearer with a pen in my hand.

  14. Would you believe, money? Naw! No one would. But it's true. I've made money writing in journalism so I had this ridiculous notion I could make money writing fiction. LOLOL!

    I've learned I best just write fiction for the fun of it, although I still hold out hope, cockeyed optimist. And I will submit it to agents when I'm done.

    Blogs "are a chain of linked spirits holding on to one another through the darkness of the cyber-void." I liked this line. Very nice:)