So you can read my books

Sunday, August 18, 2013


We write.

We strive.

We bleed the ink the page before us has been needing.

And for what?

That answer determines the manner in which we write:

hurried to meet some self-set goal


focused like light through the prism of our soul to cast the light of our dreams

onto an imagined page some unknown reader will read, becoming lost in our imagined worlds:

"To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement.

To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence,

is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself...

Anybody can have ideas--

the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph."

- Mark Twain in a letter to Emeline Beach, 10 Feb 1868.

Will we be understood?
Thomas Bailey Aldrich, in a review of Emily Dickinson’s poetry published anonymously in the Atlantic Monthly, January, 1892:

"But the incoherence and formlessness of her —

I don't know how to designate them — versicles are fatal….

An eccentric, dreamy, half-educated recluse in an out-of-the-way New England village (or anywhere else) cannot with impunity set at defiance the laws of gravitation and grammar."

Whose name is familiar to you:
the poet's or the reviewer's?Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

- Emily Dickinson

Have you noticed that much of the fiction out there has become more and more stylised, more and more cut off from ordinary feeling?

Is it that so many have come to regard everything in the world around us as fiction.... All the structures in it, flyovers and motorways, office blocks and factories, are all part of this enormous novel.

And since all those around us are mere backdrop in the fiction of our lives, they cease to become living, hurting, feeling individuals.

Ernest Hemingway wrote:"Writing, at its best, is a lonely life.

Organizations for writers palliate the writer's loneliness, but I doubt if they improve his writing.

He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates.

For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day.

You know that fiction is possibly the roughest trade of all in writing.

You do not have the reference, the old important reference.

You have the sheet of blank paper, the pencil, and the obligation to invent truer than things can be true.

You have to take what is not palpable and make it completely palpable and also have it seem normal and so that it can become a part of experience of the person who reads it."

Why do you write?

To touch one human heart?

To impress someone who may not even be alive, or if alive, does not see you as your dreams and soul truly are?

To make the bestseller lists?

To become wealthy and famous? To support yourself comfortably?

To tell the stories that burn to come out and sigh in relief as you type them into being?

Why we write determines how we write and how much pleasure we derive from it/

What do you think?


  1. I write because it's always been something that brings me pleasure, The fun of creating characters and other worlds.

    Yes, I'd like to touch one heart or intrigue one reader, but more would be preferable. Writing seems to give my imagination the wings to fly. Usually those wings have to be somewhat clipped in revisions.

    Good luck with your own writing! Don't work too hard.

  2. D.G.:
    Working first call and all weekend solo is draining! Whew!

    It would be nice to have Victor and company be popular! Best of luck with your writing, too! :-)

  3. Ha! Classic... I had a pretty personal response written and it got chewed up by Blogger, so I *ain't* going there again :)

    Suffice to say, I write because I have no choice...

  4. I started writing so I could read stories I couldn't find anywhere else. That morphed into writing for fans who wanted more.

  5. I've only just started Roland so I hope by the end of the book I'll have figured out why. Right now it feels like being pulled by a magnet. Its more a reaction.

  6. Mark:
    I'll always wonder what that "pretty personal" was now. I hate when Blogger does that to me or to my friends. :-(

    Basically, that was one of my reasons as well. There's not exactly a clamor for my books, but I write them for they burn to get out. :-)

    It is like being pulled by a magnet, isn't it? Off to visit you now.

  7. Great quotes, great questions. I write to share my characters and their stories with the world. And to make some extra burrito money!

  8. Those quotes have always been favorites of mine. :-) And lately, I have been SPENDING my burrito money ON my writing not others on mine! Life! Beats the alternative, right?

  9. To paraphrase Anne Lamott, I write because it is the lock on the gate that keeps the snarling, mad dogs contained.

  10. Amazing quotes, Roland.

    This may sound strange, but I started writing to get people to listen. I have a very soft, quiet voice and it's always a struggle to be heard. From the time I was a kid, writing is how I expressed myself. As an undergraduate, I took rhetoric rather than English, not so much so I could write persuasively, but so I wouldn't be afraid to state my opinion. You may have noticed the plan worked. :)

    I started writing fiction because there was a dearth of the kind of books I truly love to read: psychological mysteries with a literary bent. I was certain others out there must enjoy those books too, figured there was an untapped market, and I could come to the rescue! Back then, I didn't realize it doesn't matter if the entire world would love what you write if publishers aren't willing to publish it.

    I got it wrong. The books I thought no one was writing are in fact the books no one is publishing.

    Did I skirt the question? Didn't mean to.

    VR Barkowski

  11. Holly:
    Great Anne Lamott quote! :-)

    Yes, your rhetoric university plan certainly worked. :-)

    You didn't skirt the question, but you did make a strong case why you should self-publish. Victor and Samuel would never have seen the electronic light of a reader's eye, if I had not self-published.

    You should reconsider not self-publishing. Others may snap up your novels. I know I would. :-)

  12. Hi Roland - you're so knowledgeable about writers, how to write and quotes etc ...

    I write to learn, to read ... one day to develop other aspects and have new projects ...

    Cheers Hilary

  13. Hilary:
    It comes from reading their letters to each other and friends. I guess it pays to be shy and live in books sometimes. I write for much the same reason as you. Take care, Roland

  14. Walter:
    You attract a more enviable fan base than I do! :)