Echos From Shadows of The Past…

“The Law was made for one thing alone, for the exploitation of those who don’t understand it, or are prevented by naked misery from obeying it.” – Bertolt Brecht

“A man who sees another man on the street corner with only a stump for an arm will be so shocked the first time he’ll give him six-pence. But the second time it’ll only be a threepenny bit. And if he sees him a third time, he’ll have him cold-bloodedly handed over to the police.” – Bertolt Brecht

In 1933 the Nazis seized power, and like many German dissidents, the writer Bertolt Brecht had to leave. After several moves, he ended up in Denmark where he and his family accepted the offer of a house in a remote village. It was there that he penned an essay which quickly began appearing in different European cities. The journal responsible was Unsere Zeit (Our Times). It was even smuggled into Germany and distributed under a plain cover. The title “Statutes of Reich Association of German Writers.”

The actual title of this work was “Funf Schwierigkeiten beim schreiben der Wahrheit,” which translates to “Five Difficulties in Writing the Truth.

Brecht went on to say that if one chooses to oppose lies and ignorance, and to write the truth, there are five difficulties that you must overcome.

The real title of the essay was “Fünf Schwierigkeiten beim schreiben der Wahrheit,” or “Five Difficulties in Writing the Truth.” Brecht wrote:

“These days, if you want to struggle against lies and ignorance, and to write the truth, you must overcome at least five difficulties. You must have the courage to write the truth when everywhere truth is repressed. You must have the wit to recognize the truth, though everywhere it is concealed. You must have the skill to make the truth into a weapon. You must have the judgment to choose those in whose hands the truth will be effective. And you must have the cunning to spread the truth among such people.”

While the obstacles he faced were epic under fascism, they are also present in the lives of writers who have suffered exile, had to flee their homes and also for those who live in countries that claim to be democracies when they are not. Today we live in a world where fascism is rearing its ugly head. In some countries more than others, it is quickly become the rule of law in some parts of the world.

I believe that it is time to dust of Brecht and to committ to exactly what type of writer each of us will strive to be. Remembering his circumstances and reading his words, I shall endeavor to follow his ideals.

The Courage to Tell the Truth

It seems obvious that, as a writer, you should write the truth, in the sense that you ought not to suppress or conceal anything or deliberately write things that are untrue. You ought not to bow down before the powerful or betray the weak. It is, of course, very hard not to bow down before the powerful, and it is highly advantageous to betray the weak. To displease the possessors means to become one of the dispossessed. To pass up paid work or to decline fame when it is offered may mean being unpaid or unknown forever. This takes courage.

Any truth worth writing is one that those in power do not want you to tell, and the enemies of truth will try to exact a price. They will leak your personal information to the press or to your enemies. They will dox you. They will try to make it embarrassing or frightening or dangerous to tell the truth. A man who corrupts whole countries gets less prison time than a woman who votes by mistake. This is what power means.

In times of oppression, there is usually much talk about elevated matters. To write that you are “in the resistance” feels dramatic and important. You can get the feeling that you are a truth teller, because truth ought to feel dramatic and important. What is this feeling of drama? Surely, it must be the truth. In such times, it takes courage to write of low and boring matters such as food and shelter, access to healthcare, the rights of refugees.

When every channel is blaring the message that strong feelings trump knowledge, and that a man without compassion is more deserving of attention than one who cares for others, it takes courage to ask: Who profits? When all the talk is of who is a real American, it takes courage to ask: Who is unreal?

It also takes courage to tell the truth about yourself, about your own defeat. You lost. They are drinking your tears. Many of the oppressed lose the capacity to see their own mistakes. It seems to them that the persecution they suffer is itself the greatest injustice. The persecutors are wicked simply because they persecute; the persecuted suffer because of their goodness. But this goodness has been beaten, defeated, suppressed. It was therefore a weak goodness, a bad, unreliable goodness. For we cannot accept that goodness must be weak as rain must be wet. Weakness is not goodness. Goodness is not a weakness. It takes courage to say that the good were defeated not because they were good, but because they were weak.

Naturally, in the struggle with lies we must write the truth, and this truth must not be a lofty and ambiguous abstraction. When we say of someone, “She spoke the truth,” we imply that some people said something that was not the truth—a lie or a generality—but she said something practical, factual, undeniable.

It takes little courage to mutter a complaint about the triumph of barbarism in a place where complaining is still permitted, even prized. Many writers pretend that the guns are aimed at them when, in reality, they are merely the targets of influencers, trackers, and ads. They shout their generalized demands to a world of friends and followers. They insist on a generalized justice for which they have never done anything. They ask for generalized freedom: Alexa, make the government change.

These writers think that truth is only what sounds good. If the truth turns out to be difficult or dry, they don’t recognize it as such. Because what they crave isn’t the truth but a feeling and a status: the feeling of truth, the status of being a truth teller. The trouble with them is: they do not know the truth.

Upcoming Post: The Wit to recognize the Truth

Bisous,

Léa

L’ete

The veil between my beloved summer and autumn has once again descended. Like last year, it has tumbled earlier than in the past. I’ve learned to find delights in each season but summer is where my heart sings. The quotes below, for me, reflect that sentiment. 

 

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned  that within me there lay an invincible summer.”  –  Albert Camus

“In summer, the song sings itself.”   –  William Carlos Williams

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”   –  F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

 

L’ete

Slowing down my mind

Halt the eternal quest

For tomorrow, next week

Or a favorite holiday

Even before summer’s

Waning begins, the

Yearning for it starts

Anew

*

Learning to delight in

Nuances of each season

Colors of gold, red, yellow

Then brown splashes

Across the vineyards to

Les arbres

Soups simmer once again

A late squash-corn chowder,

Black bean or hearty vegetable

Avec pois chiche

*

Le Printemps donne l’espoir

Les fleurs,

Vibrant green leaves

Sur le vigne

Life cycle

Reaffirms herself

Mother Nature bestows her gifts

*

Most difficult

Pour moi

Making peace

Avec l’hiver

Taking my breath away

Lodging its chill

Deep in my bones

Even when sunlight bounces

Across a rare snow

Longing takes over

Summer feels so far away

*

Bisous,

Léa

What’s The Ultimate Conundrum?

A book writer’s reality check from Jack. Merci beaucoup mon ami.

Have We Had Help?

NSRW_Dodo

No not the Dodo – read on!

When it comes to that book we as writers have spent many months working on, sooner or later we are all presented with the same conundrum. Will it sell, bearing in mind that this business is extremely fickle?

Daily I see countless writers both new and old, endlessly talking/blogging about spending not only a considerable amount of time and effort, but also their hard earned money, on a book they wrote some time back that simply isn’t selling, in the vain hope that what they’re doing will increase it’s chances in today’s saturated market. In short we’re talking about idiots!

I’ve said it before and I’ll keep on saying it until the day I die. If your book doesn’t work, no amount of spending money on changing its cover or having it properly edited, together with purchasing a number of copies of the…

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Once burned…

“Fake people have an image to maintain. Real people just don’t care.”                        –     Author unknown

“We never lose friends. We simply learn who the real ones are.”  – Author unknown

 

“False friendship, like the ivy, decays and ruins the walls it embraces; but true friendship gives new life and animation to the object it supports.”  – Richard Burton

*

Once burned…

 

You flash a grin

My way

I feel my spine

Relax

Slipping farther

From caution I

Slide under your spell

Memory dishes up

In your favor

I feel confidence

Abandon me

As you close in

That split second

Your head turns

Calculating your options

Gratefully my senses return

Your attentions return

In a flash

Yet a veil has fallen

Your strengths fade to frailties

Sliding irretrievably from

Possibility

The seas are rich

I am patient

And deep

Your shallow waters

Cannot sustain me

*

Bisous,

Léa

I can’t breathe – T.B.P.I.K.

I find it both criminal and heartbreaking that over five years have gone by since I first shared this post and that things have exploded into the current state of affairs. My son is relieved that I’m so far away as he knows I would be on the frontlines with the protesters. We are long past due for the pendulum to swing and this time to go in the direction that is needed. Let it swing for love, understanding and compassion. 

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

“Parents and schools should place great emphasis on the idea that it is all right to be different. Racism and all the other ‘isms’ grow from primitive tribalism, the instinctive hostility against those of another tribe, race, religion, nationality, class, or whatever. You are a lucky child if your parents taught you to accept diversity.”     – Roger Ebert

“I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.”  –  Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird (Character – Scout)

 

“The Holocaust illustrates the consequences of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping on a society. It forces us to examine the responsibilities of citizenship and confront the powerful ramifications of indifference and inaction.” – Tim Holden

                                                                                *

 

                                                                           T.B.P.I.K.

 

Yes, that is how

They do it

All of them

The black people I know

They put on their pants

First one leg and then

The other

They hold down jobs – frequently

More than one – to survive

Blacks often are paid less

They eat, sleep, and shop

Cooking meals for family

Inviting friends in

Taking a hot dish

To someone whose been ill

They work in hospitals, search and

Rescue, give to charity,

Donate blood – you may have

It in you now

In a crisis – do you refuse?

They are expected to remain calm

As one more is profiled

Gunned down, targeted

Until the scapegoat paradigm

Chooses to target someone else

Momentarily

They read books, write poems

Dream dreams, large and small

They reach out their hands

In pain and in friendship

THE BLACK PEOPLE I KNOW

 

 

Bisous et solidarité,

Léa

Affair with Hemingway

“I didn’t want to kiss you goodbye – that was the trouble – I wanted to kiss you good night – and there’s a lot of difference.”  –  Ernest Hemingway

“They love me like a pack of wolves.”   – Ernest Hemingway

“Love is forever. Lust is for the moment. Got a moment?” –  Michael Gorman

 

Affair with Hemingway

 

Remote corners du café

Closerie des Lilas

Summer evenings beneath stars

Sidewalk tables and stories

Late at night – mon chambre

I take you to my bed

Crawl deep inside your stories

I have my way with you

You reach out through time

Together, we do Paris

Huddled in corners

Sipping wine and champagne

Dark Smokey tables shared

Avec Fitzgerald, Ezra et

Ford Madox Ford

War stories, the bulls

Nights at Bricktops

Josephine’s rocking the joint

Gertrude’s salon

Champagne et art du jour

Picasso, Modigliani

Breathless with anticipation

I surrender and plead for more

It is the life – it is life

Bereft, insatiable, pleading for more

C’est magnifique!

 

Bisous,

Léa

Writer? Writer. — Young Adult, Old Soul

I am currently thinking about how I will evolve and where. It’s become obvious to me I need to move on (both for my own growth and because I cannot stand the routine, have gone way above my limit of round-trips to this business park I both hate and love.) It’s frustrating that I know […]

via Writer? Writer. — Young Adult, Old Soul

How The Act of Sharing Your Not So Perfect Writing Life Helps Other Writers #writer — BlondeWriteMore

Writing is not easy. If you have ever found yourself forcing out a few words while listening to a crowd of negative voices in your head or staring miserably at 1567 words you wrote yesterday, which now sound like nonsense, you will understand. Social media doesn’t help. There are days when it feels like everyone […]

via How The Act of Sharing Your Not So Perfect Writing Life Helps Other Writers #writer — BlondeWriteMore

Writing Grows in Fits and Starts!

Pen & Paper

So often I hear people say, “oh, I can’t do that” and I say “ why not?” Believing in you and what you can be, what you can become, is totally dependent on believing you can. It really is that simple. You may not be the best at what you choose to be, but you can do it. Being the best is not the point. The point of it all is that you did your best.

A few years ago, I was the worst fiction writer ever, although I was good at research writing. However, fiction writing is a totally different kettle of fish, as they say. It was embarrassing, as I struggled to be a fiction writer, but I learned. I learned by reading lots of fiction, by observing and studying other people’s writing, especially on WordPress – a great place to learn.

Actually, several WordPress writers…

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How To Be A Bestselling Author in 3 Days or Less — Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Originally posted on yadadarcyyada: There’s a lot of noise out there about how to write a bestseller. Why don’t we break it down. Let’s simplify the process and get you to bestseller status in 3 days or less! 1. Write a book. Use as many words as you think you need. Plots are plots (it’s…

via How To Be A Bestselling Author in 3 Days or Less — Smorgasbord Blog Magazine