William Rainbolt

From one of my heroes, George Orwell, in "Politics and the English Language" (1946): "(Language) becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts." I will try to avoid contributing to the debasement of language and thought that abounds today.

Friday, June 30, 2006

One of my short-short stories is now at . . .

. . . www.mystorylives.blogspot.com . . . the story is, “It’s Never Too Late to Apologize.” And it really isn’t (too late, I mean).

The editor is the wonderful author and ardent supporter of other writers, Claudia Ricci, and she’s looking for contributions to the MyStoryLives blog, for Star Root Press. Want to be a writer? Then write.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

No. 4,124,251 . . . and counting!
I cannot get a good estimate on the number of books printed since Gutenberg’s days, but for my own ego I am going to assume it is somewhere in the many millions . . . which makes it quite okay that my historical novel, Moses Rose (1996), ranks at 4,124,251 on Amazon.com (wait a sec – it probably just went to 4,124,252 as I type).

But authors (wannabe or obscure), do not be discouraged. Ten years after my novel appeared from Dan River Press, I still get about 10 or so messages a year from people who have come across a reference or heard about it in some way, and want it. Literature – or at least in my case, sustained typing – does live on. Yes, I am at no. 4-million-and-something, and proud of it.

And yes, I admit, too, this is partly a shameless bit of hawking for dear ol’ Moses Rose. It is still available (not “in print,” but there are copies available) from Dan River Press. This novel is, as the book jacket explains, “a fiction based on a legend,” about a 50-year-old veteran of Napoleon’s army who – according to the Texas legend – was the only Alamo defender to leave the night before the final assault . . . a deserter to some, a survivor to others. My novel does not purport to tell the “real” story, since no one really knows what it is.

For a copy, contact Bob Olmstead at cal@americanletters.org. Costs: $15.95 plus $3.95 shipping/handling, total of $19.90. Enjoy. And remember: it is just a story I made up. (Oscar Wilde: "Lying, the telling of beautiful untrue things, is the proper aim of art.")

(If you are interested in more discussion on that last point, check out the other essayists and materials for a “virtual conference” on historical fiction I participated in a few years ago at the University at Albany. It is at: www.albany.edu/history, then click on History and Media and scroll down to find Writing History, Writing Fiction.)

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Just Trying for a Right Thought, 1

Two relatively recent, powerful works of art make me think about our need to confront what we might dread, but what we know intuitively will illuminate our souls, will help us touch again – or find for the first time – that indefinable truth that makes us realize we are human and alive and part of a mysterious condition, and we are glad for it. The works: Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, and the Paul Greenglass film, United 93. Do not be afraid of them. Take a cleansing and empowering breath (take several of them, in fact), read or view with an open heart, which means a heart open to pain and sorrow as well as the good, and grow.