So you can read my books

Saturday, October 16, 2010


{One of my good blogger friends emailed me, saying that my first entry did not seem out of the box for me,

despite me telling instead of showing.

"Out of the box" for me, she said,

would be to write of a normal person having an ordinary day without lurkers in the shadows or any supernatural danger.

No angst. No depression. Only laughter. Only love.

No, just to write of a normal person enjoying happiness without any moral implications --

so I tried, knowing that for me happiness is always tethered in some way to moral implications.

Here is my new entry


The rape had been the best thing to happen to her.

The mother smiled wistfully.

Certainly not the terror, the helplessness, the shame. The nine months of scandalized whispers. The silently accusing eyes. No, they were not good things at all.

Her child's laughter turned her around. She smiled at the phrase "turned her around." That is what Sunshine had done for her.

Turned her around.

Before her daughter, her life had been full of doubt and darkness. Now, it was full of light.

It was why she had named her daughter "Sunshine."

The little girl ran up to her in almost a skip. "Are we really going to the park to feed the pigeons, Mama?"

"Yes, Sunshine, we are."

"Don't you have to go to work at the laundry?"

The mother shook her head. "No. They had to let me go."

"What? But what will you do, Mama?"

The mother mussed Sunshine's gleaming black hair. "I was looking for a job when I found that one, little one. I will find another. I always do."

She tweaked Sunshine's button nose. "Haven't I told you -- we're magic, you and I. We will always find a way to be together."

Sunshine nodded doubtfully. "But the war, Mama ...."

Leading the girl down to the nearly empty street, the mother smiled sadly. "There is always a war, little one. But mothers and their daughters have always managed to find a way."

"Why do we go to the park, Mama?"

"It just seemed the thing to do, Sunshine. It is much too pretty a day to be cooped up like chickens."

And Sunshine giggled, making the old man on the park bench crease his weary face into a sudden smile. The war had given so little to smile over this past year.

Sunshine waved shyly at the old man who just as shyly returned it, making the little girl giggle again.

The mother felt like her heart couldn't hold all the joy and love her little girl gave her. Tears of happiness blurred her vision.

When her vision cleared, she saw Sunshine at their favorite bench.

She was standing stock still like a deer in some magic forest. On her open palm sat a cocked-head pigeon. The mother smiled.

Yes, no doubt about it : her daughter was magic.

As she approached her daughter, the pigeon flew away. Sunshine sighed and took her mother's hand.

"Mama, I know it can't be, but I feel we will always be like this -- holding hands forever."

The mother's face crinkled in a rabbit's smile. "Me, too, little one."

Sunshine pointed up. "Oh, Mama. Is that a plane?"

The mother shielded her eyes and squinted. "I believe you are right, Sunshine. But it is up so high."

The little girl shielded her own eyes and leaned up against the park wall, "I think I see its wings dipping."

There was a sudden flare of bright light.

In September of 1945, Father Johannes Siemus (pronounced "Zee-Mus,")

was sent to the Japanese city of Hiroshima to aid in the post-bomb rescue effort.

He reports seeing the shadows of a mother and child, holding hands, burned into the very brick of the shattered park wall.

In 1958, sculptor Chizuko Hamamoto, donated a statue of a young girl, holding a pigeon, for the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. He named the girl of the statue, Taiyoukou (Sunshine.)

When asked why, he only said, "It just seemed the thing to do."


  1. A found this compelling and simultaneously twisted! I just knew it was going to end badly because it started so horribly (in a good literary sense!)!!!

    I was quite engrossed. I was like someone watching by default an accident unfold very slowly and yet was unable to turn away. :-)

    Thanks for the riveting read! Take care

  2. Kitty : Thanks for enjoying it so. The mother and daughter died, holding hands, oblivious to everything but their love for one another.

  3. How hauntingly beautiful and poignant. I, too, kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. I didn't expect that one.

    On a much lighter side, I don't think you're capable of writing anything without putting something extraordinary and/or wondrous in must be in your blood.

  4. Beautiful! Joy and sorrow all at once....but, mostly joy.

  5. Good gratious, Roland, you did indeed write outside of the blox, This was beautiful. I see, however, you managed to sneek a little bit of yourself through a crack in the window! :)

  6. You crafty devil! That was brilliant. From the opening line so unexpected...and wonderful.

  7. That was out of the box. I'm often intrigued, spellbound, or even confused, but this was a tear-jerker. And the little girl and her mommy are holding hands forever.
    Man, I have to go hug my kids now.

  8. ...baited each of us on that first line...nicely done:)

    This is an all new avenue for you, indeed. Sometimes using the supernatural in small doses, a pinch here, a dabble over there, adds just enough spice to keep the pages turning. You should read "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle." A wonderful new release similar in voice to what you've done here.

    This was good stuff, Roland.

  9. You are a treasure Roland :) A rare find in this world.

    Very beautiful. I adore the holding hands concept, and the line: "It just seemed the thing to do, Sunshine. It is much too pretty a day to be cooped up like chickens."

    The looming tragedy was inherent from the first line, and integrated effectively throughout the story. I knew you'd find a way to weave in a history lesson in there.

    What was truly "out of the box" was the happiness for happiness sake, and the characters retained a single name and personal history.

    Just a mother and daughter out to enjoy the sunshine.

    A worthy excerpt Dearheart.

    I will think of you often over the next couple days, and I'll be sending you encouraging thoughts for you pending ordeal. Focus all that Lakota, DreamSinger magic on yourself for a speedy recovery.


  10. A delightful read. Hopeful and optimistic, of which I am the ending hit me hard. You lured me. I came. I died a little in the bricks. Still, a wonderful extraction of a horrible moment backwards into a beautiful story line.

  11. Oh my goodness... that was absolutely haunting and beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes. You truly have a gift :)

  12. That was hopeful and definitely uplifting, thanks, Roland!

  13. Good luck with the thing, Roland.

    For the excerpt, as always, cool as hell, twisted, even with the sunshine. I suppose for you, writing out-of-the-box means using living characters, eh! ;)

    - Eric

  14. Hi,

    Air of fiction drawn from reality and oh so poignant in its presentation! Nice going Roland. You made it look effortless writing out-of your box.


  15. Well that was new! Lol I guess I should of expected it given the blogfest, huh? Good read as usual : )

  16. Roland: Your first line hit me like a freight train. The rest of the story, with its simple prose and sing-song rhythm, really drew me in. I think this is a fantastic short.

    Scribbler to Scribe

  17. Yowza. This definitely packed a whallop. Very sad! Fascinating that you drew it from non-fiction.

  18. You rip through my insides every time ... It's hard to see what i'm writing through the streaming tears.

    Stunningly gripping.


  19. As Gideon said, you rip through my insides every time too.

    Beautiful and touching yet deeply sad.

    You're a winner in my eyes. Well done, Roland.

  20. congrats on being a finalist Roland. Tough choice between you and Amalia.


  21. Donna : Thanks. And between you, too. Yours was a great entry. We are all winners. It' being chosen by an agent, then a publisher, and most importantly, the readers out there, paying hard coin for our novels that truly matters.