So you can read my books

Thursday, April 10, 2014



"Fiction gives us a second chance that life denies us."
- Paul Theroux (author of THE MOSQUITO COAST)

Ghost of Ernest Hemingway here.

It amuses me that Roland has turned Outlaw by going his own way on this A to Z Challenge --

being held to no law but his own instincts.

So, in true Outlaw fashion, I have taken the reins on this article.

On this date in 1941, Paul Theroux was born and what was more unique ... he truly lived.

On this date in 1633, bananas went on sale for the first time in England at the shop of Thomas Johnson of Snow Hill, London. 

 And the humor of slipping on a banana peel was regretfully born.

On this date in 1827, American Civil War General, Lew Wallace, was born.  He also wrote BEN HUR, fusing life back into the historical novel.

On this date in 1829, William Booth was born.  He was the British founder of the Salvation Army.  He was the rare man who lived his religion.

On this day in 1858, the original Big Ben bell was cast.

The original bell of the iconic Big Ben clock tower in London weighed almost 15 tons, but it unfortunately cracked under testing.

It was then recast into a smaller bell, which remained in use into the 21st century.

That buffoon Clemens should consider that in regards to that colossal ego of his.

An ego that is also infantile as proved by his jest in yesterday's post that I was an agent of Hydra:

In fact I was an operative for the KGB, code name: Argo.

J. Edgard Hoover had personally placed me under survelliance.

In 2009, the publication of Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America,

revealed that the FBI was in fact right to spy on me because I really was on the KGB’s list of its agents in America.

Based on notes from a former KGB officer who was given access in the 1990s to intelligence archives in Moscow from the Stalin era,

the book reveals that I was recruited in 1941 before making a trip to China, and was given the cover name “Argo”.

According to Soviet documents, I met with Soviet agents during the 1940s in Havana and London and “repeatedly expressed my desire and willingness to help them."

 In the end, I turned out to be of little use to the Soviets however,

as it’s claimed I failed to give them any political information and was never “verified in practical work”.

By the 1950s, “Argo” was no longer an active Soviet contact.

It was all part of an elaborate charade by me to gather literary inspiration but it failed to spark a worthwhile novel.

 Read more

On this date in 1834, a fire at a New Orleans mansion reveals the mistress of the house, Delphine Lalaurie, and her physician husband 

to be brutal sadists who maintained a torture chamber for brutalizing and conducting gruesome experiments on them.

Paul Theroux's earlier quote is appropriate as in


Victor Standish got a "second chance" to right matters at that mansion in his own distinctive way.

I need to teach that boy how to box.

The Titanic set off on its first and only voyage on this day in 1912.

  The massive luxury liner left Southampton, England, on this day, and it only sailed for four days when, in the shallows of the stars, it crashed into that iceberg.

On this date in 1906, William Sydney Porter (O Henry) published his second collection of short stories which included one of his most beloved tales, THE GIFT OF THE MAGI.

I will claim H to stand for HEMINGWAY out of order though it is --

After all, this is the Outlaw Trail:

“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”

“Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.”

“All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened

and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you:

the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was.

If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer.” 

That last quote of mine reflects the thinking that got me so incensed at Fitzgerald --


His The Great Gatsby was published on this day in 1925. Like his letter to editor Maxwell Perkins:

"The books comes out today and I am overcome with fears and forebodings.
Supposing women didn’t like the book because it has no important woman in it,
and critics didn’t like it because it dealt with the rich and contained no peasants borrowed out of Tess [of the D’Urbervilles] in it and set to work in Idaho?
Suppose it didn’t even wipe out my debt to you—why it will have to sell 20,000 copies even to do that!"

 Fitzgerald’s letters at publication time and for several months after are often despairing — the sales too few, the critics too stupid or capricious, the only option to write more magazine trash or to go to Hollywood.

Bah!  The man was enough to make me want to punch him!

Twain just drawled that I would have if I hadn't been afraid Zelda would punch me back!

I'd punch Twain for that ... but for McCord.


  1. Interesting trivia Roland. I hope all is well in your travels.


  2. Oh dear. Hemingway was (sometimes) a fine writer - but usually a sub-standard friend. And I like the thought of Zelda punching him - rather a lot.

  3. I had no idea Hemingway had agreed to work for the KGB, but I can see him doing it only to gather material for a novel. Kinda funny that in the end such a strong figure was useless to the Soviets.

    And yes, Zelda definitely would have thrown a punch in defense of her man.

  4. Great facts Roland and two great authors that lived abundant lives. I got a good laugh out of Hemingway being a KGB spy. Speaking of, have you seen the show The Americans?

  5. HA! I can't stop laughing at the Hail Hydra pic!

  6. Booth lived his faith. Were we all that brave.

  7. Thanks, Hemingway, we needed a terse reminder that all writers have egos and shortcomings.

    and to Roland, when he awakes:
    Two of my favorite literary authors are Hemingway and Fitzgerald. Neither was very nice to their wives, with all the side affairs, both drank too much, but both also wrote so well that I must forgive them their weaknesses. I try to separate the author or the artist from his works.
    Love that photo, it illuminates the differences.

  8. Donna:
    I try to be entertaining. My travels are varied and have the virtue of helping ill people which is a real plus to me. :-)

    Elephant's Child:
    I think Twain would have paid hard cash money to have seen Zelda punch Hemingway. LOL.

    Yes, it came as a shock to me about Hemingway and the KGB -- he fought for the good guys in the Spanish Civil War and prowled the Gulf Coast during WWII, searching for U-boats with a submachine gun of all things (which he used on sharks by the way!) :-)

    I like Kelli Russel as an actress and hated to see her as a Soviet spy so I haven't watched THE AMERICANS.

    I like it when favorite authors like Neil Gaiman and Roger Zelazny turn out to be friendly, warm men as well.

    I thought you would like that Hydra picture. Hemingway still won't speak to me!

    Yes, he did. Yet, we all can live our faith each day in small ways that can produce big results in the lives of hurting people. :-)

    Yes, my strength is failing me for some reason, and I need more sleep these days.

    It is the strong ego's that allow the great to continue on in the face of the usual non-responsiveness from their work.

    I enjoy the work of both Hemingway and Fitzgerald, knowing that I was not there and do not all the reasons behind some of their hurtful actions.

    I still get irked by Hemingway's brusk treatment of Fitzgerald, who recommended Hemingway's work when he was still an unknown. If not for that, Hemingway might have stayed an unknown. Sad.

    Thanks for being my friend, D.G.

  9. Not sure about these two, but of course they do deserve an outlaw mention. Because of D. G., I re-read Gatsby and still didn't like it; then I read The Last Tycoon, which I loved. So you never know.

    I love all these facts you have gathered and if I had done it all, I would be tired too. So continue resting, it is a very good thing.

  10. When it comes to Hemingway, I don't think we can ever forget that the man was mentally ill. When you filter that into everything he wrote, did, etc. it all makes a bit more sense. The four wives, the whole KGB thing (which sounds like it was just another way to "get in there" to fuel his writing)... much like participating in the wars did. And even his treatment of Fitzgerald. Often the mentally ill don't make great friends.

    You know that Muriel Hemingway is a descendent of his, right? I have seen her in interviews and she talks about the mental illness that has trampled her family. Everyone seemed to get that defective gene from him and it just destroyed her family. So much drug use, depression, suicide. Just surviving being a Hemingway sounds like a lot of work... and most didn't.

  11. Inger:
    Thank you for using me in your post on imagination. That was very gracious and kind of you!

    Yes, the emotionally ill do not wear signs about their necks proclaiming how toxic their natures are.

    Suicide seems to run from generation to generation in Hemingway's family, starting with his father.

    Mental instability, as you say, may make for great art, but it is certainly hard on the artist and those around him!!

  12. Oh, the Ghost of Ernest Hemingway took over Roland's blog. How exciting!

    Welcome to the blogosphere, Ghost of Ernest Hemingway. ;)

    For Roland: The cover art for Under a Voodoo Moon and The Rival are just stunning!

  13. Chrys:
    Hemingway does that to me sometimes! He even teaches how to write at times!

    Leonora Roy thanks you for the nice comments about her art for VOODOO MOON and THE RIVAL. :-)

  14. I had no idea Lew Wallace was a Civil War general! My Civil War buff self bows his head in shame. :)

  15. David P:
    No need. There is so much info out there that even buffs cannot know it all -- except, of course, for my supervisor! :-)