So you can read my books

Friday, December 13, 2013


{Lonely Christmas by Fantasize-Me-R93/Deviant Art}


It is the term Victor Standish uses for the colorful metaphor he would like to use but that Alice's Victorian upbringing will not allow him to.

The most prominent practitioner of sfumato was Leonardo da Vinci,

and his famous painting of the Mona Lisa exhibits the technique
Sfumato comes from the Italian "sfumare", “to tone down” or “to evaporate like smoke” ---
just like the contentment and peace of so many has evaporated in today's angst-filled world as with the latest Colorado shootings.
Then, there is the Sfumato of modern life as indicated by the quote we all know --
“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience and Other Essays   
In painting, Sfumato is the fine shading that produces soft, imperceptible transitions between colors and tones.
Many people, as in the Thoreau quote, live lives where everything merges into one grey expanse of loneliness and emptiness.  Some days more than others. 

But all shaded in that color.
They sit in the Mall, watching happy parents holding hands, laughing children scampering down the aisles --
and the contrast of that bright happiness jabs into the sfumato of loneliness in their lives.
But to quote Thoreau again:
“It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.”
Henry David Thoreau
Many times we see our own lack in those around us without truly seeing.
How many lonely men and women have you seen sitting at a dinner table together at a restaurant, lonely though married.
How much better to be alone by yourself than lonely with another person. 

You at least have the hope that one day you will meet your soul-mate.  The person ensnared in a loveless marriage does not have even that.
My mother and I used to envy those with large families during holidays until we were invited to a large family get-together.

The grandmother was wheeled into a distant corner and ignored while the young joked and laughed.
Her hollow eyes tore at us until we flat couldn't take it anymore.
Mother and I pulled up chairs and spent the evening bringing laughter to the eyes of that woman.  And we never envied large families ever gain.
There are spots of beauty all around us if we will but look for them.  So often we see what we look for.
We must be careful to tell ourselves the truth, for we will only hurt ourselves by seeing in the world around us the "proof" of our lies.
Our emotions are NOT created by what happens to us;
our emotions are created by what we TELL ourselves
about what happens to us.

"It is not what people say or do that creates your emotions,
but rather what you tell yourself about what people say or do to you."

The whole world is a mirror.  To a person with an ugly soul, the whole world is ugly.  To the innocent, the world gleams with purity.
As you live out a day, ask yourself what the child you once were would make of the details around you. 
Look at the strolling cat outside your window or the scampering squirrel. 
Think of how you would describe what you see as you walk to a child needing a laugh.  You'll soon find yourself smiling.
is still free all weekend!


  1. #12 in Kindle Store is awesome Roland. I'm pleased to see your novels doing so well.

    Have a wonderful holiday season. I hope life is treating you well and all your dreams are coming true.


  2. Donna:
    That's #12 in free Kindle books. But it looks good for the moment. :-)

    May your own holiday season be filled with true wonders.

  3. Thank you for reminding me to see things as I did as a child. My father taught me by example to sometimes just stop and look at the world's beauty surrounding us. The beauty of a newly sprouted plant, a new born calf and the sunrise in the morning.

  4. Susan:
    It is what my half-Lakota mother taught me as well. We get caught up in the hustle and bustle of adult life and demands and lose the magic of just seeing the world around us in its awe and beauty. Thanks for dropping by.

  5. Congrats on the stats!

    Liked this post, Roland. You speak of what I notice yet could never speak of as eloquently as you. I'm not fond of large family gatherings (I had to attend them as a child). I, too, see those left on the side.

    I went to an Elders party at a First Nations reserve many years ago. It was a party held to commemorate the elders of the family and everyone had to make an effort to greet them, bring them food, and talk to them. I loved the idea.

    It's hard telling ourselves the truth, and harder yet to do something about it if we don't like that truth.

  6. Thanks, D.G.:
    I had those illusions of large family gatherings garnered from TV movies and commercials -- talk about unreality! :-)

    I like very much that concept of an Elder Party.

    And seeing the truth of our situation is very hard with our knee-jerk instinct to deny.

    Thanks for commenting!