So you can read my books

Friday, March 8, 2013


Yesterday as we went about our daily lives:

An innocent man was lynched in a country whose name most of us can't spell.

An impressionable baby was born to a hateful mother.

Three young men were killed by sniper fire.

A hungry old woman opened a can of dog food to eat for her one meal of the day.

And we passed a lonely, hopeless soul, looking for one pair of eyes that gave a damn.

There is empty ground in most souls we pass. Sometimes that leeched soil is within our own soul. We cannot save the world. Often it is beyond us to even save ourselves.

That which we can do, we must do, or else we help the darkness grow thicker. Even one feeble candle can show the way for the next step. And what does this have to do with writing you ask.


We cast out our words into the darkness of the cyber-void. We do not know who stops by our blogs, weary of spirit, drained of hope. We do know that tragedy and heartbreak is an everyday event. We know how to write.

Let us build up not tear down. Write to support, to strengthen, to lessen the load of the unknown reader in the shadows. Maybe even to make lips that had forgotten how to smile break into a laugh, weak but the more needed because of that.

There is war. There is pestilence. There is famine. But none of them prepare you for someone moaning over trifles.

Yet, on the other hand, no one enjoys having their mountain made into a mole hill by a spectator safe on the sidelines.

What did Mark Twain write?

"Nothing that grieves us can be called little. By the eternal law of proportion, a child's loss of a beloved doll and a king's loss of his crown are events of the same size."

Billy Graham once wrote: "Puppy love is real to the puppy."

Compassion. Understanding. Laughter. I try to make them my three writing companions.

And when we write our novels, we need to always keep in mind the living person who will read our words.

Is our story one that touches the heart? Is it real? Even in fantasy, our characters can seem real if their pain is common to our own : alienation, loneliness, yearning for love.

And keep in mind to always include laughter.

After seriously commenting on his strict requirements for perspective hosts, Mark Twain added with a twinkle in his writer's eye :

"When I am ill-natured, which is rare for the paragon of virtue that I am, I so enjoy the freedom of a hotel -

where I can ring up a domestic and give him a quarter. And then commense to break furniture over him. Whereupon I go to bed calmed and sleep as peacefully as a child."

And it is comforting that even a genius like Mark Twain was once thrown out of the office of a publisher.

"I got into his office by mistake. He thought I wanted to purchase one of his books, not the other way around. His lips contracted so fast his teeth fell out. And he threw me out."

Twenty-five years later that publisher met Twain on the street and profusely apologized: "I stand without competitor as the prize ass of the 19th century."

Mark Twain remembers the event this way :

"It was a most handsome apology, and I told him so. I then confided that several times each year since that time I mused over that incident and had in fancy taken his life, always in new and in increasingly cruel, inhuman ways --

but henceforth, I would hold him my true and valued friend -- and I promised never to kill him again -- in fancy or in fact."

Mark Twain had his own take on publishers from his long association with them:

"All publishers are Columbuses. The successful author is their America. The truth that they --

like Columbus --

didn't discover what they expected to discover, didn't discover what they set out to discover, doesn't trouble them in the least."


  1. Hopefully those who stop by my blog find some encouragement.

  2. Alex:
    You encourage so many that is why your blog is so popular.

  3. Roland, you do a great job of showing that even if we can only do a little to help, that 'little' matters to someone.

    No, we can't help them all, some don't even want the help, and we have to protect ourselves at some point. The human spirit does have its limits and can only absorb so much of others' pain.

    That's one of the things I liked about Gaiman's 'Neverwhere'. In the early pages, the MC stops to help what appears to be a homeless person. His partner doesn't like it and is more callous. That drew me in. A caring person.

  4. This is so true. We can't lose our compassion. Once it's gone, it's hard to get back. And a hard heart is nearly impossible to soften.

  5. We should always remember our humanity when dealing with others because we all have our stories to tell. Nice post, Roland :)

  6. What a compassionate post! Really focuses on what the reader needs:
    Compassion. Understanding. Laughter. I try to make them my three writing companions.

  7. The beauty in compassion is the humanity it evokes, the will to see another as more than something to use, abuse or both.

    When we've lost all of our compassion, so goes the world with it.

  8. D.G.:
    Moderation in all things -- even in helping. If we drown, how will we rescue any more drowning?

    NEVERWHERE is perhaps my favorite Gaiman novel. Of course the MC's compassion bit him -- no good deed goes unpunished, right?

    Yes, indeed. Once concrete hardens it is impossible to soften again.

    Our common wounds bind us if we but remember many wounds are invisible and some screams are silent.

    Compassion. Understanding. Laughter. The three essential companions in our journey along the dark paths of this life. I'm really happy you liked this post. :-)

    The compassion in a person's heart is the barometer of her or his soul. Thanks for visiting. I look forward to your comments even though my personal life is keeping me from visiting my friends these dark days. :-)