So you can read my books

Friday, April 6, 2018

A TO Z? E is for ...


"The difficulty under which the novelists of our day labour seems to me to be this:

 if they do not go into society, their books are unreadable; 

if they do go into society, they have no time left for writing."
 - Oscar Wilde: His Life and Wit

Ghost of Oscar Wilde visiting ...

Clemens and that irritible (and irritating) Hemingway 

are both off, seduced each by their particular demons.

 (Being a ghost is no laughing matter.)

I see where my friends are showering you with platitudes on how to write.

Let me instead urge you
 to live before you write.

I visited Neil Gaiman just last night and talked of this very thing.

He nodded and told of a novice writer showing him a passage from his first novel.

The poor boy's writing reminded Neil of a beautiful, shallow pond, brilliant but with no depth.


The map is not the sea.  

You must sail the ocean to know it. 

You must live life before you can write of it convincingly.

You need not be a libertine to write well.

All you must do is use whatever pain, angst, or despair you have experienced 

as a touchstone to lend a semblance of soul to your characters.

But your griefs would be considered by most to be small you think.

I shall counter your thought with one of my friend, Clemens --

 “Nothing that grieves us can be called little:

 by the eternal laws of proportion 

a child's loss of a doll and a king's loss of a crown are events of the same size.”

I wonder: 

How do you render 
a semblance of soul 
to your prose?


  1. If we haven't lived, what we write won't ring true.

    1. Hemingway stressed we should observe those around us each day and absorb how they moved, talked, and acted. We remember more than we realize. Well, except for absent-minded me!

  2. My writing has to have a personal connection to the story. Trying to write without that, it is like rolling a stone up hill only to have it roll down.

    Neil Gaiman?? Wow.

    1. The ghost of Oscar Wilde gets around! :-) The quote actually comes from Neil.