So you can read my books

Saturday, October 3, 2015


Marianne Williamson once wrote:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

 It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us."

To which my Artful Dodger hero, Victor Standish, snorts, "Bullshit."

And me?  What do I say?

"A child's fear is a world whose dark corners are unknown to grownups. 
It has its sky and its pits without bottoms, a sky without stars, deep caves into which no light can ever reach."

Denise Covey and Yolanda Reese are doing the WEP HALLOWEEN CHALLENGE starting October 21st.

To start the fun you can:
1.    share a favorite frightening tale, movie, novel, photograph or painting that will leave us quaking in our boots
           2.    in a short paragraph describe how it scared you, and why it did and or still does today.

 I've already written my 1000 word entry, but I thought I would share with you my worst fear from childhood and the genesis of Victor Standish.

Mother was half-Lakota and my first teacher.  She told me over and over:

“Courage is not the absence of fear, 

but rather the knowing that something else is more important than that fear.” 

"What is that something else, Mother?" I asked the first time.

She tweaked my nose and smiled, "You will find that out when you have to be brave for another."

 But Mother was human and fell in love with a man who turned out to be alcoholic and mean-spirited.

She tried to make the marriage work but finally divorced him.  Shortly thereafter, he charmed my baby-sitter into taking me.

He left me on the worst street in Detroit.  

I remember running after his car, screaming, "Daddy!  Daddy!  Daddy!"

As the air burned in my lungs, I saw his car become tinier, tinier, and finally disappear.

Then, I noticed the rough street punks noticing me, and I remembered something else Mother told me:

"Running only makes you taste better to the wolves."

I stopped running and forced myself to walk slowly in the direction my Father's car had gone.  

I was six years old and all alone on the street in Detroit that claimed a life every night.

With dry mouth, I saw several of the street thugs were following me.  

I decided walking a little faster wouldn't hurt and letting them catch me might hurt a lot.

I heard a little dog yelping in pain around the corner.  

As I rounded it, I saw another punk kicking a small dog as an old woman in a wheelchair screamed.

"Leave him alone!"

I wanted to run away when I heard Mother in my head.  

"You will find that out when you have to be brave for another."

My hand went to my right pocket, and I fingered the weapon Mother had given me for when she had to work.  

Our own street was rather rough, too.

I forced myself to speak loud, "Leave the dog alone!"

The thugs behind me snickered and slowed to watch the fun.  The dog-kicker glared at me.  "Who's gonna make me?"

I pulled out my water pistol.  "I will."

He laughed,"With water?"

"With bleach!"

I shot him smack in the eyes and took the handles to the old woman's chair and pushed for all I was worth.  

I figured the dog had four legs to my two and could make do on his own.

The old woman added her own hands to the wheels, and we sped down alley ways until I was dizzy and lost beyond all hope of finding the street where my father had dumped me. 

The dog kicker suddenly had other things on his mind.  

The others were too busy laughing at the guy clawing at his eye and screaming to chase us.

That was how I met Maudie and little Tufts.  

She irrationally feared uniforms, 

and it took her six weeks to overcome that fear enough to lead me to the local Salvation Army branch.

I still dream of that time sometimes when my sleep is troubled.  That dream country is always the same.

It is a country where it is always turning late in the year ...

a country where the buildings are fog and the streets are mist ...

where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay forever. 

That country is composed mainly of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from people and knives. 

It is a country whose people are winter people, thinking only winter thoughts. 

Where people pass at night down slick alleys 

and sometimes there are cries of pain and the sound of a body hitting the wet pavement. 

A part of me still lives frightened and shaking in that country and always will.

I tip my hat to Maudie and Tufts in FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE and END OF DAYS.

And that is my memories of childhood horror.


  1. And horror it is. I cannot tell you what I hope happened to your progenitor - because a father he wasn't.

    1. Mother and I never heard from again. And yes, I do not think him as a father either but only as an anti-role model. Thanks for caring.

  2. Lovely Roland. You gave new meaning to sterilizing a street thugs insight/foresight, and Vision.

    I am reminded: "If each day falls
    inside each night,
    there exists a well
    where clarity is imprisoned.
    We need to sit on the rim
    of the well of darkness
    and fish for fallen light
    with patience."
    (Pablo Neruda)

    I'm finding Neruda's poem (which I first read in High School, 42 yrs ago) - to be extremely pertinent to this day/age/era; in my life. Drudging up Light; from that deep well of darkness..."With patience," as a Vital key, mindset.

    1. Fish for fallen light with patience is all any of us can do, right? Neruda was a genius. Thank you for bringing that poem back to mind. :-)

  3. A horror beyond horrors, but an inspiration too. To be six years old, that frightened and that cool under pressure is a blessing, and a gift from a mother who cared. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Of the few years, in which I was lucky to know Roland, and meet with Him weekly, in Lake Charles: - I have never met another Man who Loved His Mother as much as Roland did. His Mother left an indelible mark of Compassion, Patience, and Respect for the Human Condition, on Her Son. Or, as some would say "the human tragedy." I rarely have known Men like Roland who's faith is pure, and unwavering, in the hardest of times.

      Roland (more often than not) - inspired me beyond mere words. When I had lost all Hope, after a dehabilitating Spinal Surgery, followed by a MRSA Gangrene Infection of the Spine; which came too close to killing me. These events were followed by the loss of my only Brother, 14 yrs my Younger, who was my best friend, and confidante. Brotherhood is a Sacred Bond. I had 1 Brother out of 6 Sisters, and He meant the World to me. When Grief is so deep, one is left with a permanent scars on their heart, often unknowing of the Tools to combat grief.

      Upon losing my Mother on Mother's Day of 2013, while caring for Her daily, for the last year of her Life.

      I lost all Hope, during these disastrous events. My vision of 'Hope', was in serious deep question in my mind for a decade plus. Hope to me was close to a Vanity, of Hoping the world or one's life would or could be different than what one is given by fate, circumstance, or mere Karma. We all know when one cannot accept their life as ugly as it can get, when Hope's is defined (incorrectly) as: - Hoping Life were different, not accepting one's own fate or existence. Hope I saw as, Desire for a kinder gentler life, which was deeply missing. My life was in pieces; destroyed I feared. I could not see enough to pick up those pieces, and re-frame them.

      It was Roland, who turned my views of 'Hope' to that of sincere acceptance, so one can move on to live that Hope. Otherwise, I may not of re-found my true Hope, in time. While accepting those things we cannot change.

    2. Yolanda, you did not hear the quiver in my voice when I told that coward to leave Tufts alone or see the trembling of my fingers when I sprayed him in the eyes ... lucky he was so close!

      Victor Standish is the one who is cool under pressure. :-) Now, you know where he comes from.

      Don't worry -- my Halloween entry will not be as depressing or personal. Happy days until then with only treats and no tricks!

    3. Robert, thank you for the kind words. I always looked forward to our long talks at my bookstore. One of the best gifts the Father gave me was your friendship.

      When two people meet, each one is changed by the other so you've got two new people. To be alive at all is to have scars. Those without scars have not truly lived or realized the preciousness of life.

      You and I have lived and learned to be kind from the unkindness of others. :-)

      I still grieve when thinking of the inner pain you endured with the death of your mother and brother.

      May all your tomorrows grow ever better, my friend.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. Your always welcome Roland.

      We share much in common. I once bought a book from you, with a line that simply reads: "one can tell a Mans Life, by the scars on His body." That much we share, in more ways than one.
      (Not limited to just scars as commonalities).

      Sage and Gentle Warrior.

  4. Hi Roland - yes we should all put our troubles behind us when we read this post ... you put life into context. Thank goodness for your mother and for your life with us blogging. It's good to meet Robert and 'feel' your interaction. We do change - and we change in meeting people, and we can learn and change from blogging friends.

    All the best to you both - Hilary

    1. Thank You Hillary. Any friend of Roland's is a friend of mine....

    2. Life is harder for those around us than it looks on the surface I believe. Mother was a blessing, and I learned from my father... and from the special people in my life like Sandra, DG, Inger, you, and Robert. :-)

  5. Water pistol filled with bleach - very clever.
    Your mother's words were very wise.

    1. She was wise. Mostly, I am otherwise! She later changed the contents of my water pistol to rubbing alcohol when it leaked with the bleach when I was pushed down by another bully!!

  6. I remember this, Roland, and it catches at a mother's heart to read it. I too have stood up to bullies, but not the like which you faced. I was protecting someone who was also weaker than me - a roommate, younger kids, etc. It's a primal urge you either have or don't have. I know when to hold and when to fold 'em though, as well. BTW, thought of you today while watching a show about disasters, and Katrina was one of them.

    1. I remember stepping in between bullies and their smaller victims at school, saying, "Why don't you pick on someone your own size." Of course, they always responded, "You look my size!"

      If they were too big, I would answer back, "But are you as fast?" and take off, leading them away from their victim and to the principal's office!

      Katrina and Rita reshaped my life ... and my city as well! Thanks for thinking of me. I think often of you, and hope things improve soon for you.