When the Book Goes Live

I’m an author. To quote the Irish writer, Brendan Behan, I’m a drinker with a writing problem. I do love that quotation. It sums up a lot of the feeling of this profession. The Muses are real, and they visit affliction upon writers, but we praise them for it.

But inside every author–even the ones who say otherwise–there’s a yearning for the world to read and enjoy our work. Some people say they write only for their own amusement, but I have my doubts. Writing is bloody hard work. As Samuel Johnson said, no one but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money. If you’re not a writer, try it sometime. Then try it again. And again. And again. Keep trying it, and you’ll be a writer one of these days. The Muses work that way.

Now and then comes the reward for the work: the book for sale. Is it like giving birth or coming home from a hard journey or getting out of prison? I don’t know. The end of the journey idea sounds right, since once the book is published, that moment is a destination. There are new journeys to go on next, and as Robert Frost told us, way leads on to way, and we don’t get to go back and walk the old paths over.

The written word becomes the possession of the reader. How you see the character or the scene, what you’re feeling and learning and experiencing is yours.

And thus, I submit for your approval, The Willing Spirit.


It was a lot of fun (and work!) to write. I hope it’s a pure pleasure for you to read.

But I’m writing the next book in the Dowland series now. It’s set on Catalina Island and the mainland in 1871. There’s Spanish treasure, a gambling lady, and even grunion fish.

You’ll have to wait for me to finish it.

Crossposted on English 301: Reading and Writing.


4 thoughts on “When the Book Goes Live

  1. Jan Morrill

    I love this post, Greg. You’ve captured the essence of being a writer beautifully. Congratulations on the release of The Willing Spirit!


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