So you can read my books

Monday, December 16, 2013


Has your blog lost readers? Are your books sales slipping?

Has Christmas lost meaning for most people in your world?

What does that last question have to do with the first two?

It stems from the question both Christmas pilgrims and readers have in common:

What's in it for me?
Fairy lights, tinsel and extravagant presents’ have made both authors and Christmas shoppers forget about the true relevance of the season and

of the reasons why people read.
The "fairy lights and tinsel" of our dreams of succeeding in writing blind us to what makes readers pick up a book in the first place.
They are asking: "What's in this book or blog for me?"
It is a seductive trap to write blogs and books to get people to look at you, to achieve YOUR dream.
We succeed as writers when we look past OUR wants to the wants of the readers. 

Blog visitors are looking for something to help them with THEIR dreams and THEIR hurts.
Book readers are looking for an experience that will wisk them away from their lacks to their dreams:
of being loved, of being the hero, of not being the patsy, of finally belonging.
Christmas started out as a celebration among the poor: the social ostracized of society at that time:
the unclean shepherds, the sneered at country bumpkins, and the hopeless.
The cry from the sparkling night stars:
was heard and believed by those unseen and uncared for by those with wealth, position, and power.
Today the streets and cities teems again

with those who shiver in cardboard shelters, pushing old newspapers in shoes with holes in their sides and soles. 
In fact, there are holes in the SOULS of those who wander hollow-eyed amidst the hurrying shoppers. 

Not all with thread-bare souls live on the streets.
Many live in tiny apartments, elder homes smelling of urine and neglect, or in three bedroom houses empty due to death and grown children.
I sat in a dark movie theater today and watched repeated commercials for Target,

hawking presents with price tags beyond the grasp of millions in our country. 

Me included.  I went without the outrageously priced concessions.
Some people look at the store windows blaring XMAS SALES!  They mourn that Christ has been X-ed out of their most holy holiday.
We need to search for the true meaning of the world around us if we are to survive emotionally in this world that lunges for the brass ring.
The word Xmas actually stands for the original Greek and Latin spelling of the word Chirst which is spelled Xristos
For those of us who cling to the true treasure of the Christmas season, there is still that little bit of feeling:
the change dropped in the Salvation Army bucket, the plates of homemade cookies taken to the neighbors, the stories read and the carols sung.
And for us the Yule Season still has the hope seen in the lights and the evergreens,
the peace seen in the candles and angels,
the joy felt in making the lives of others just that much better even if only for one day.
And that will always be there for those who stop running long enough to open their hearts. 

Has Christmas lost its meaning?

But it is getting harder to find. Because the best things of Christmas are not found in a box, they are found in the heart.
In like manner,

the best novels contain not surface glitz but the inner wealth lurking in the heart and soul of those still brave enough to believe in both.


  1. What's in it for me?

    I know this is how many people think and it pains me because this is so far from my heart.

    This society is getting more dehumanized by its race for the possession of objects... yet, that objects can fill an empty heart is just an illusion...

    A write Christmas would be very nice... :-) but also just Christmas, with love and good will...

  2. Vesper:
    People are hurting from the hollowness within, and they try to fill it with all the things that cannot satisfy: things, power, sex, and thrills.

    Only when we pause to think of the miracle of life can we see how amazing it is -- so amazing that we just want to freely share it with others.

    That is the Christmas spirit.

    Thanks for visiting and commenting again. Have a great 2 weeks off. :-)

    I never get vacations. Whew!

  3. Good analogy. I didn't know the origig or the word Christmas.

    I'm in the bah-humbug category. I give to my family and friends whenever the mood strikes me - which is to say when I can afford to give a gift and can find what the person wants.

    Does frost on the ground count as a White Christmas?

    Happy holidays Roland.


  4. Donna:
    Does frost on the ground count as a White Christmas?

    It does in South West Louisiana!

    I do as you do, Donna, I give my Christmas presents all year through when I spy things my friends would like.

    Fatigued as I am, it is hard not to be in the Bah, humbug! mode. :-)

    Happy Holidays to you, too!

  5. Well said. Christmas has not lost its meaning for those of us who still hold on to it.

  6. i believe as i thought the first two questions... yes, everything is slipping as i try to get traction. in my defense life has taken over and i have that first. i see my blog numbers dropping. i did notice when ever i post a photo/image with no text/postings from me... i get lots of looks. when i spend an hour on something that is prepared, minimal response.

    weird. so i have to think what will make people come back, or the very least bring more people in... i have given up on the success story of a art book, no one really wants them... maybe more on the wall is to be a better place.

    we struggle to be heard, i want to be heard again... please hear me.

    sorry i am on my soapbox again!

  7. I find all of the Christmas shopping commercials so tiring. It's fun to give and receive gifts but it has totally gotten out of hand in many ways.

    This is another beautifully touching post, Roland.

  8. Alex:
    The true meaning of Christmas is now being buried under so much tinsel but it is, indeed, still there to those of us who dig to find it and cling to it. Thanks for visiting.

    What you say about your blog visitors underlines the danger to those of us who wish to write for a living.

    This is increasingly becoming a visual, cyber society. Kate Upton's .gif on your page probably draws them in even now.

    Sex sells. Prose makes for boredom among so many. The snippets of Twitter, FB, and Instagram hold sway today.

    Instagram is the new addiction: look at me and my selfie -- I just delivered a baby yesterday, look at my slender body in a bikini!

    We are in danger of becoming a nation of Kardashians and Kayne Wests.

    No one has sure traction in this slippery world, but we struggle to maintain our centers, Jeremy. You are not alone.

    And you were not on a soapbox, my friend. You just wanted to talk to a friend. :-)

    Thank you for your kind words about my post. I, too, tired of the commercials in the theater. The irony is that I do not have cable, and the only commercials I see are in the movie theaters or on Hulu, and I still got tired of them!

    May your book sales be high, Roland

  9. How dare you make me think and feel this Christmas season! ;)
    Lovely word as always Roland.
    I took Greek in college, and concur with your statement about the meaning of "X". Much like the lost meaning in the IXTHUS that adorns cars nowadays.

  10. David:
    Yes, my students said the same thing in my classes. "Just tell us what answers you want on the test, Mr. Yeomans!"

    I told them that Life doesn't do that. It gives the test first and then you get the lesson!

    Like in LOTR, much is lost in our time, for none remember.

    Cate Blanchett said it better! :-)

    Would you be interested in helping me promote DEATH IN THE HOUSE OF LIFE when it comes out?

  11. Great, now I have her monologue stuck in my head! Not that it is a bad thing, she has a rather lovely voice to say the least.
    I would love to help, let me know what I can do. :)

  12. David:
    I sometimes just listen to that monologue at the start to revel in her voice.

    In the first of January when I've finished the edits, it would be great if you would do a post on it. Perhaps an interview? :-)

  13. David:
    Thanks. My email address is in my profile. Write me, and we'll put our heads together. :-)

  14. Hi Roland, provocative post. I, for one, am reveling in the fact that for the first time in several years I am able to gift small items to my loved ones and cherished friends. Yes I spent money that might better be put toward a vacation, or new laptop, or bills. But I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of shopping, buying and wrapping and next week will receive great joy in the giving.

    As for my writing? My blog? Bah humbug, lol. I've been so inconsistent for so long, few even remember me. You're right. Why should they show up to read my words if I don't even show up to write them?

    Anywho, it's good to know that you're still here, old faithful.

    Merry Christmas, my friend.

    ~ That Rebel, Olivia

  15. Olivia:
    I know only too well how grim it is to live on vapors. But leave yourself a bit of a pad to fall back on. Your friends would not want you to hurt yourself financially!

    But giving back feels so good, doesn't it? :-)

    It's easy to get out of the habit of writing consistently on our novels or our blogs -- and so very hard to get back into the rountine!

    It's so good to see you back here!

    Merry Christmas, good friend. :-)