So you can read my books

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


I am William Faulkner. I am dead. Yet I did not die.

I, like so many who did not believe in an afterlife,

live here in the jazz club, Meilori’s.

Meilori’s :

the center, the focus, the hub; sitting looming in the center of the French Quarter’s circumference like a single cloud in its ring of horizon,

laying its vast shadow to the uttermost rim of horizon; musing, brooding, symbolic and imponderable, tall as clouds, solid as rock,

dominating all: protector of the weak, judge and curb of the passions and lusts, repository and guardian of the aspirations and hopes of the helpless.

Here, I find myself standing outside the window of the storefront of humanity, still observing as a writer but unable to reach out and touch with fingers of new prose.

Except through Roland’s kindness.

Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained that by now we can almost bear it. Of course there are still problems of the spirit. Yet one question looms above all:

When will I be blown up?

By terrorist plot,

by Nature’s increasingly hostile hand,

or by the cruel strangulation of mishandled economics.

Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing

because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat of wresting something from nothing.

You must learn them again.

You must teach yourself that the basest of all things is to be afraid.

And teaching yourself that,

forget it forever,

leaving no room in your writing for anything but the old truths of the heart,

the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed - love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice.

Until you do so, you labor under a curse.

You write not of love but of lust,

of defeats in which no one loses anything of value,

of victories without hope and,

worst of all, without pity or compassion. Your griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars.

You write not of the heart but of the sex glands.

I remember that night in Meilori’s when McCord and I talked.

How words go straight up in a thin line, quick and harmless, and how terribly living goes along the earth, clinging to it, so that after a while the two lines are too far apart for the same person to straddle from one to the other.

That sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they have forgotten the words.

Forgotten the words by being too busy living them.

So write those words in your prose.

Write them so that others may prove their truth by living them,

And in so doing, forgetting them as they forget they are breathing.

{To read more from Faulkner, Twain, Hemingway, Hitchcock, even Bruce Lee on writing : }



  1. Wow. That really resonates. Thanks for a good post! :)

  2. When writing, never forget the heart. That is what beats life into a story.

  3. I love Faulkner. I agree that exposing inner conflict makes for a great story, but I really don't think writers today have forgotten that. I think the threat of terrorism and the economic situation actually intensifies the conflict in our lives, which in theory should show itself in our novels.

  4. Jasmine :
    Thank you for visiting and taking time to talk and liking this post.

    Alex :
    That was my problem with Isaac Asimov's fascinating stories : fantastic ideas but cardboard characters.

    Tonja :
    Sadly, only in some of the novels I read. The TWILIGHT novels had none of it : the crises seemed artificial to me. I have to walk down the romance aisle to get to the Sci Fi section at Booksamillion. Sigh. "Oh, there is good-hearted, boring Aaron. But then there is sexy, bad boy Devlin. Oh, who should I choose? Go ahead, woman, choose Devlin and have a tragic, mistreated life when the bad boy turns out to be ... bad. Duh!

    Thanks, Tonja, for liking my words and staying to chat a bit! :-) Roland

  5. Wow! I'm blown away. Very incredibly lyrical! GREAT POST!!!

  6. Jack. The ghost of William Faulkner gets all the credit. Thanks for the nice words and the follow.

  7. Jack. The ghost of William Faulkner gets all the credit. Thanks for the nice words and the follow.

  8. Jack. The ghost of William Faulkner gets all the credit. Thanks for the nice words and the follow.

  9. Hi Roland. I, too, blog about universal truths today for IWSG but not as eloquently as you do!


  10. Wonderful post as usual, Roland. Thank you so much for showcasing the trailer for my next book. You are a good friend and I appreciate it very much.

  11. Denise :
    Your post was lovely. Alas, I am still at work and not able to stay on the 'net long. Thanks for the nice compliment.

    Wendy :
    How could I not have the back of my good friend?

  12. I think Mr. Faulkner nailed it there. That was beautiful.

    Also, thank you for following me!

  13. One DV Rebel :
    His ghost is smiling wide. He does so like to be appreciated. You have a lovely blog. I was happy to follow it, Roland

  14. inner conflict definitely makes a story tick.... i wish i had time to read some faulkner...

  15. I can't wait to get my hands on Ghost Writers in the Sky. My bday present should be here by the 5th! I'm looking forward to sitting back with my cool, new tablet and reading your book while I'm recovering!

  16. Jeremy :
    You might a short story of his. You can find his short stories (along with his other writings) on this site :

    Candy :
    My prayers will be with you now and especially on the 20th! The Turquoise Woman is anxious to meet you. In fact, she is coming to you in another volume, THE BEAR WITH TWO SHADOWS, a Native American LORD OF THE RINGS if you can imagine it! LOL. Just read the first paragraph. It is from her unique perspective, though she is throughout the fable.

  17. I do love it when you channel famous authors. It reminds me that there is more than popular fiction out there to read and learn from. Great post, Roland, as always.

  18. Lady Gwen :
    Remember when Faulkner originally wrote his novels, they were considered popular fiction. But how many novels written today will be thought of as literary fiction 20 years from now? Thank you for the very nice words, Roland