So you can read my books

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


{Don't forget to puchase Talli Roland's ebook, THE HATING GAME! }

Have we become obsolete?

We as writers,

as thinkers,

as empathic observers of the human condition?

Have we become strangers in a familiar land?

"He whom God has touched will always be a being apart: he is, whatever he may do, a stranger among men; he is marked by a sign."
Ernest Renan

Those who read books are becoming fewer and fewer, causing the publishing world to become tense observers of trends and profit margins.

And thus, they have become stoic, ruthless guardians of the portals of publishing which are emblazoned with :

"You Enter Only If You Bring Us Certain Profits."

Children equate reading with boring, agonizing homework assignments.

They want quick, easy thrills offered by video games and movies : no mental assembly required.

Just blood, action, and sex (not love.)

But are the viewing children and adults like the husband who roars at his wife to just shut up. He gets what he asks for but not what he truly wants.

He wants the love of his life back. The sweetheart who thought the world of him and whose sight made the breath catch in his chest.

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.

It is the source of all true art and all science.

He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead:

his eyes are closed.”
Albert Einstein

We need the magic back.

Not the Harry Potter kind of magic exactly. But the magic that can take a day of remembrance of Rosa Park's courage and cast a spell with these words by former American poet laureate Rita Dove :

How she sat there,
the time right inside a place
so wrong it was ready.

That trim name with
its dream of a bench
to rest on. Her sensible coat.

Doing nothing was the doing:
the clean flame of her gaze
carved by a camera flash.

How she stood up
when they bent down to retrieve
her purse. That courtesy.

But the world is too much with us :

its clamor, its demands, its cliched entertainments that cause our minds to slumber, our souls to slowly wither.

We forget the dreams and hopes of our childhood. We forget to listen to the lament of our starving hearts.

We think it is a conditon of the 21st century. It is not.

On this day in 1821 Percy Shelley's "Adonais," his elegy to John Keats, was published in England.

A cornerstone of both Romantic poetry and the myth of the Romantic, the poem paints Keats as Adonis in pursuit of Beauty and Truth, brought down by those less noble and talented.

This was a fate Shelley predicted for himself,

and he died before Keats's gravestone had been erected.

He had one eye upwards on the pursuit of Beauty and Truth, and one downwards on all that was in pursuit of him.

Could that be said of us as we pursue our publishing dreams? Are we selling truth in a marketplace that wishes only affirmations that the moment is all there is?

That there is no tomorrow, no place for nourishing kindness in an unkind world, that success is the product of the manipulation of the masses?

Keats wanted his gravestone in Rome to read "Here lies one whose name was writ in water."

Are we writing in water?

Perhaps. But the world and we, humans, are three-fourths water. Water is the key to life.

If, in our writing, we touch only one heart that finds strength for the next step in a harsh, dark world, have we not made our striving worthwhile?

We, as authors, do not think of masses. We think of the individual : the solitary protagonist -- the solitary reader. I do not think of many reading my book. I see one reader reading my book at a time:

A lonely young boy emboldened by the plucky courage and wit of Victor Standish.

A thinking man nodding at the reflective compassion and courage of Samuel McCord.

An intelligent lesbian finding worthwhile role models in Ada Byron and Margaret Fuller.

A struggling married couple finding empathic connection with Renfield and Magda, making an impossible situation forced upon them somehow work with love and courage.

The British writer and naturalist, Henry Williamson was born on this day in 1895.

Although Williamson’s reputation now survives only in connection to Tarka the Otter, his beloved 1927 children’s book, he wrote a series of autobiographical books.

One such was entitled, A SOLITARY WAR.

We, as writers, as empathic thinkers ... we, too, are engaged in a solitary war whether we are married or single.

No one truly sees into our minds, our hearts, our dreams. Nor do we see truly the depth of those things in others.

It is an external war. It is also a perpetual inner warfare as well.

As we go about the hustle and bustle of our holiday activities and our routine work grind,

let us stop for a moment to see if someone by us is one of the walking wounded of their solitary war.

And if so, soldiers fight better together, having one another's back.


  1. I love it when you wax poetic like this Roland. This post is beautifully written, even if a little sad.

    I for one won't settle for the instant gratification society currently demands. I will seek truth and beauty every day that I draw breath.

    It is nice to know I am not alone.

  2. I can only agree with Matthew... I love the poetry of your writing. And yes, it is nice to know that however solitary our own personal war, there are others who are fighting just as we are.

    And I must say I like the sound of (as per your comment on my blog) an agent-induced nano-like experience! That sounds really promising! I realize I probalby missed out anything you said in that respect whilst I was dwelling in my nano-shaped hole in the ground but do I take it you have an agent? Or a manuscript request? If so, CONGRATULATIONS (if not, it's only a matter of time until some editor/agent/publisher sees the genius that is you - and your writing).


  3. Hi Roland ... yea to Talli's plug .. great links around the blogosphere .. Hilary

  4. Hi,

    Love the waxing poetic and lyrical slant, but hell there's a whole bloody army of us out here watching each others' backs and yelling the battle cry! Yet, one hot-shot sniper can achieve more than a whole platoon let alone army. So who will that hot-shot sniper be and who in the crosshairs? ;)


  5. You're right, we need the magic back. I don't think we're quite strangers in a strange land yet but I see it coming.

  6. I love it when you wax poetically. But I don't think the magic is gone, just that folks are getting older, we're in the midst of a technological revolution (like the industrial revolution in 1898), and we're strangers only if we want to be.

  7. Kittie : Thanks for liking my musing. Indeed, we are in the midst of a cyber revolution. Music stores have become dinosaurs. Bookstores are struggling.

    But there is a transformation even in the eyes of the children you meet. The wonder I remember being in them when I was there age is no longer as bright. Thanks for being my friend.

    Heather : Yes, as Kittie says the world it is a'changing. And as the industrial revolution led to child labor that was horrendous, the possiblities of man's cruelty to his brothers seems to lope forward like T.S. Elliot's shaggy beast towards Jerusalem. But cyber-friends like you make me feel not quite so alone.

    Francine : I hope the crosshairs of a signing agent is on you and all my cyber-friends! Thanks for the great thoughts.

    Hilary : Yes, I couldn't today go by without shouting out Talli's ebook blogsplash and, of course, buying it for my Kindle myself!

    Tessa : Yes, two agents are looking at THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH. The wily Ulysses of the French Quarter may yet find an agent who likes him. Think good thoughts about my chances, all right? Good to see you back!

    Matthew : I'll have your back. It's nice to know that you have mine. Let's refuse to go for instant gratification but go for thinking beneath the surface in our lives and in the life-bruised eyes of others. Thanks for liking my musings and reflections!

  8. Very beautiful. The part about the children viewing reading as boring- it's very sad. We read to our daughter every night, and have ever since she was born. She's 5 and loves learning how to read. She also writes her own little books all the time. I'm so glad she shares our love of reading and writing. I think alot of the apathy towards reading and learning has a lot to do with parents. Hopefully those of us that love it and are passionate about it can turn it around for our children.

  9. Awesome. You know, this kind of "easy thrills" trend is as prolific in Hollywood as it is in literature. Some of the truly great films are being seen by few while poorly-written, cliched blockbusters are all the rage. But if we were to just demand better entertainment, the kind that can truly make a difference, it could happen.

    Anyway, I'll stop rambling. Yay for Talli!!!

  10. Amanda : I believe you're right about Hollywood. A great story can be mixed with action and special effects if needed. CASABLANCA was on one hand a crowd pleaser with high-profile stars and on the other a delight of great writing and witty dialogue -- with something to say to Americans at a time when it looked like the Nazis were winning.

    Abby : Is does all come down to the parents, doesn't it? Sadly, as a former teacher, I saw the amount of parent interest in their children decline rapidly in my few years in the profession. Now, we have fractured children raising even more confused and aimless children.

    Thanks for visiting and commenting, Roland

  11. HI Roland,

    Beautifully written. You do know how to incorporate the past with the present. True and honest. I believe the magic is only sleeping, waiting to be awoken by an author's gentle kiss. As long as we are still writing and still posting the magic will never die. It's all around us, only sleeping.

    Soon the breath of life will awaken our sleeping angels. Give it time. The battles may be lost, but the war has just begun.


  12. Hi Roland, thank you so much for helping me to spread the word! I really appreciate your support. :)