So you can read my books

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Schumel Gelbfisz was born in Warsaw, Poland. As a very young man, he left that city on foot and penniless.

After an epic journey, he made his way to Birmingham, England where he stayed for a few hard years, using the Vonnegut-like name Samuel Goldfish.

In 1898, he emigrated to the U.S {in steerage.} But fearing refusal of entry due to his quick-silver identity changes, he got off the boat in Nova Scotia, Canada.

He finally made it to New York where he soared in success as a salesman in the garment industry. He was a Jewish Ulysses, living by his wits.

He became a naturalized citizen in 1902. Scanning the landscape for financial opportunities, Gelbfisz found one in his beloved past-time, going to the movies.

He went into the movie business with a vaudeville performer and a theater owner, using an unknown director, Cecil B. DeMille.

As it usually does, business got nasty.

And he left ... the company not the dream. He partnered with the Broadway producers, the brothers Selwyn. They named their studio in a meld of their names : the Goldwyn Pictures Corporation.

Wily as ever, Gelbfisz changed his name to Samuel Goldwyn.

He got forced out of the business, never becoming part of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. But he never gave up on his dream.

He created the Samuel Goldwyn Studio and for 35 years made classics that people like me still enjoy :


Samuel Goldwyn was a dreamer that refused to quit.

And sadly, most of what he is remembered for is his misuse of the language that was not his first. How many of us who laugh at his words know a second language?

And his sharp wit was what enabled him to survive a trek clear across Europe, a journey over the seas, and battles in the shark-infested waters of Hollywood.

Often his wit is mistaken for a verbal flub as in : "I don't think anybody should write their autobiography until after they're dead. A hospital is no place to be sick. {And if you've ever been ill in the hospital, you know that statement is oddly true.}

I was thinking of two of his "Goldwynism's" : "What we need are some new, fresh cliches." and "I want the same thing ... only different."

I was thinking of them as I was contemplating our uphill struggle to get agents to consider our novels.

On one hand, they universally complain of being submitted the same kind of "handsome vampire/angst-ridden teenage girl" fantasy or the young wizard in today's world fantasy.

On the other hand, stroll down the fantasy aisle of the bookstore, and those kinds of novels are the only ones you see.

Before TWILIGHT, the vampire novel was considered old-hat. Before HARRY POTTER, mixing magic with young, impressionable children was considered taboo.
Think of your novel.

How is it the same thing but different? Looking for a new road to walk in writing your next novel? Try looking at "Where The Mountain Meets The Moon." It is a coming of age novel, mixing common teenage angst and questions with Chinese myth.

Strive to keep your fantasy from being the same old "cookie-cutter" fantasy that blurs from one title to another. Give your fantasy, or whatever genre you choose, a unique magical allure all its own. Like Schumel Gelbfisz, I will not give up on my dream. Don't give up on yours.

And when I think of never giving up in life, I see the image of an eagle flying high in the sky, being lifted by the currents of the winds, invisible but powerful ... as our dreams are invisible yet capable of lifting us further than we believed possible :


  1. Hi,

    Thought provoking post, and believe it dreams do come true. A romance blogger has just scooped a three-book deal with Transworld for historical novel genre: big money deal!

    Loved the eagle vid (courtesy BBC)- worth watching for fleeting glimpse of the Snow Leopard. Such a gorgeous creature and rarely seen or caught on camera. We get eagles in Wales (North), buzzards galore, but a Red Kite on the wing is something special, too. Such quiet stealthy birds of prey: not a peep out of them when actually hunting.

    I always think it a little ironic the national symbol of the USA is the eagle, same as Germany (Third Reich influence)- kind of at odds somewhat in one being "Land of the Free" and tother land of the "Do as we Do or F-off" attitude. ;)


  2. Francine : Thanks for the inspiring new about the romance blogger -- it wasn't you, was it?

    Yes, dreams are elusive, but nonetheless real because of that. A mirage has gotten many a lost soul who followed it across the desert.

    Yes, the eagle was also the symbol of the ancient Roman Empire. Still, I can understand why America's founding fathers picked it. Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey, if you can believe that!

    Native Americans have long looked at the eagle as a symbol of freedom, courage, and renewal (eagles have extraordinarily long life spans.) So our Founding Fathers were thinking of those qualities when they picked the eagle as our National Symbol : Freedom. Courage. Renewal.

    Not bad goals for a nation to shoot for. I, for one, am leary of any nation's leaders. The lust for power twists even the finest men who give in to it.

    Thanks for the insightful comment. I always look forward to your visits. My best to you as well, Roland

  3. Thank you for an inspiring post. Never give up. Never give in. No matter how many times we fall on our face. Or tush. Or have to crawl. Keep going. Keep on keeping on.

    Loved the video and saved it in my youtube favs.


  4. Wow, I knew the origin of MGM but I didn't know the 'rest of the story.' I love Tony Goldwyn, the great(?) grandson. What a remarkable journey Mr. G took. (I can't pronounce his name, or even try to spell it!)

    A great selection for an example of not giving up. Never say die! Never surrender! My new motto.

    BTW, I just LOVE the Secret Life of Walter Mitty!

  5. Our dreams are all we really have, at the end of the day, and likely all that immigrants could take with them when fleeing the old country.
    Determination is often lacking in this day and age, but holding on to our dreams can often get us over the rough spots in life.

  6. Everyone : Thank you. I wish I had the time to respond to each of you right now, but I am at work, just sitting down to take in a breath. I'm eye-deep in filtering blood and taking bacterial samples, and also on first call. And I'm on solo duty all day, too. Whew!

    I appreciate the time it took you guys to write. It means a lot. Although GALAXY QUEST was a comedy, I believe in its motto : Never Surrender. Never Give Up.

  7. Cinette : At last, some breathing room -- all of 10 minutes. LOL. You are so right. William James, the father of American Psychiatry, said that the attitude with which we begin a project determines its success or failure.

    Words Crafter : Secret confession time. I am Walter Mitty -- just don't tell anyone!

    Olivia : I really love that video, too. The music, the lyrics, and the outstanding, breath-taking footage. What if J K Rowling had given up on the 10th rejection? Determination is what gives birth to legends, right?

  8. I needed some inspiration today. I'm not giving up my dream but frustrations pile up some days.

  9. Just what I needed to read, Roland. One day I'll sit back and say to someone I know that incredible writer Roland D. Yeomans. I'm sure for Rowling the struggle was worth it all.

    Lisa xx

  10. Wonderful background on MGM. I liked the flow of this.

    You're right of course, fulfilling our dreams can be a struggle, but it is definitely worth the time and effort.

    Hold on to your dreams Roland; keep putting them out there for us. One day, of course, we will have to purchase those thoughts - and that is a fine dream to accomplish.


  11. Well, Danny Kaye was terribly talented....

  12. Words Crafter : Danny Kaye was also a man of great heart who gave to so many world-wide. He showed quite a different and serious side as Ambassador for UNICEF.

  13. Oops, I'm using the work computer so my profile is not showing by my name.