Who Would I Rather Be?

As a child, I don’t recall wishing I was someone else, although I admired Roy Rogers enough I wished I could be like him. I was too young and immature to think my parents would take my desire for a horse seriously, however, especially since I’d never been on anything more than merry-go-round ponies.

I don’t recall wanting to be someone else as a teen, either. But, while I spent hours mastering the guitar–if indeed one ever masters it to his own satisfaction–and watching various folk singers on Hootenanny, I feel certain I had dreams of being admired on the same kind of stage. But then the “folk fad” dissolved, and “folk rock” took over. That wasn’t my thing.

Adulthood tends to make some interesting changes to our wishes and desires over the years.

Just as my first two careers, which added up to almost sixteen years of my life, failed to fulfill me, I turned more and more to writing–poetry, short stories, monologues, short plays. And songs. Christian songs that were, uh, very folk-flavored. That was something I couldn’t get out of my system.

I don’t think I truly began to appreciate who I was, however, until I went to Australia on my first volunteer overseas mission trip. I discovered that there are still people who appreciate and are moved by my kind of music.

Nonetheless, it’s taken a number of years to recognize that being a published novelist and an ever-improving musician who’s written over two hundred songs aren’t really who I am. My ability to do those things is a gift from God. I can’t even begin writing a new song until He gives me the idea. And then I must count on Him for the guidance to perfect it to whatever degree I’m capable of. That’s recently become true of my novel writing, too.

What I’ve discovered more-and-more in my old age (I hate to refer to seventy-one as “old age,” but it’s certainly not “middle age”) is that the heart of everything I am lies in the fact that I’m a Child of God, desirous of pleasing Him in using the abilities He’s given me.

So the question “Who would I rather be?” is irrelevant. A better question is “Who would I like to be more like?”

That’s easy to answer. I want to be more Godly. More Christlike. I want to be more loving, more generous, more patient, kinder, more understanding, bolder in opposing things that are wrong and more willing to just shrug my shoulders at things I don’t simply don’t like.

Christ was and is perfect. I’m not. So wanting to become more like Him seems like the most desirable thing I could ever wish for. Who says I’m too old to grow in that direction?

What about you? How about leaving a comment?

I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,


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Why Write?

When I tell people I’m an author and have three published novels–I rarely bother to mention that I also have two self-published books of my shorter writing–they think it’s pretty nifty. I suppose the average person hasn’t met many authors, much less actual novelists. Even a writer friend at church who I think is very good at writing nonfiction admires my writing and admits he could never write a novel. He  doesn’t have the imagination.

Strangely enough, however, I don’t recall anyone ever asking me why I write. Of course, people who know I write Christian fiction probably assume my writing is an outgrowth of my faith. Although that’s accurate, there’s more to it than that.

It’s easy to dismiss the reasons for writing that don’t fit.

I don’t write for fame or even recognition. Yes, it MIGHT be nice to walk into a bookstore and have some shy individual approach me cautiously and ask, “Aren’t you…?” Then he struggles to remember which well-known writer I am.

No, that wouldn’t work for me. I’d rather be a nobody. Like Emily Dickinson. (If you don’t get this reference, look up the poem “I’m Nobody, Who Are You?”) My writings are more important than I am.

I don’t write for money, either. Yes, I received a decent advance for each of my first two novels, but sales never paid back those advances. Truth be known, because so much of book marketing falls on the shoulders of the author, The Devil and Pastor Gus has not only earned less than $2o in the two years it’s been out, whatever royalties it has earned have gone back to my publisher to help pay for their marketing efforts.

Nope, money’s never going to happen, and I’m just as happy. My wife and I are not overly materialistic, and I don’t want to become addicted to THINGS the way I was when I was younger. We’re not rich. Nowhere close to it. But we’re comfortable. We have what we need–everything we need–and a little bit more. God sees to that.

So why write?

God has given me writing talent and helped me to develop it. He’s also given me creativity and an imagination. Failing to use those gifts would be a slap in His face. He’s never led me to believe He wants me to become a success as the world sees it. But He has given me a number of spiritual insights I didn’t have when I was younger, and He seems to want me to express them through fiction. It’s as simple as that.

When I sign a book, I typically write, “I pray this book may both bless and entertain you.” I mean it.

When I started writing this post, I had a couple of other things I wanted to talk about, but I’m at a comfortable stopping place now. I’ll use my next post to talk about what I’m leaving out now.

What about you? Do you write? If so, why? If not, why not? Has God given you some other talent that you are using for Him? Or one you should be using for Him? How about leaving a comment?

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.


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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,

Are My Novels Autobiographical?

More than once I’ve been asked if my novels are autobiographical. A reasonable question from people who know me well and probably a reasonable one from people who don’t know me.

My first two published novels were written from a teen girl’s point of view and several of my unpublished manuscripts are written from a woman’s point of view. So let me hasten to emphasize that I am all male and have no inclination towards changing my gender. So from that perspective my novels are NOT autobiographical. Not in the least.

My novels do tend to reflect some of my characteristics, however. One of the fun things in a yet-unpublished manuscript is the female protagonist’s description of the male protagonist, whom she is growing to love:

That man was so cute about not wasting gas. I’d been with him when we were three or four cars back at the bank drive-thru. He turned the engine off whenever the line moved up one spot and started it again only when the front car moved on. As if that didn’t tickle me enough, he also turned the car off once he reached the window.

I finally convinced him it wasn’t safe to keep turning the engine off at red lights. Thank goodness he didn’t do it at stop signs.

Whenever I teased him about being so economical, he always responded the same way. “Starting the engine wastes less gas than leaving it running longer than a minute.”

I’d never heard that before, but it was one of those little rules Robbie lived by, and I couldn’t knock saving gas—and, consequently, money.

Although I’ve never turned off the engine at traffic lights or stop signs, the rest of that is a pretty accurate description of how economical I am about gas. Even now when the prices have dropped so amazingly.

Another thing I tend to do in my writing is to make the protagonist an only child–and frequently with deceased parents. Yep, those things are me, too.

Because I love to make puns and other word plays, that characteristic sometimes comes out in my characters. And even in my titles. As in Impractically Yours.

Divorce is part of both my past and my wife’s, and that plays an important part in several of my novels. Including one that’s about two couples trying to hide their pending divorces from one another. That part’s not autobiographical, though.

And then there’s my growing preference for using older characters, one or two as old as I am. Oh, and several involve PKs (preachers’ kids), and that’s definitely me. At least one of my characters is a guitarist and song writer, just like guess who.

And all of my stories are told from a Christian perspective. Because of the importance of my faith, I doubt I could write anything else if I tried.

So, to make a long story only slightly shorter, you’ll find a lot in my books that relates to me personally, but no one book is all about me. And I don’t expect to write one that does. Better to keep my readers guessing…

Do you have a favorite author you think or know writes fictitiously about himself or herself? How about leaving a comment?


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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,

What’s My Legacy?

(Click on pictures for larger image. But since this post doesn’t have any, please pretend hard.)

Ever since writing The Devil and Pastor Gus, a novel about a minister who wants to leave a worthwhile legacy to future generations, I’ve been thinking about that subject a lot.

Poor Gus didn’t think his accomplishments as a minister would have a very wide-ranging or long-lasting effect. As I look back at my three pre-writing careers, I can relate.

Although I occasionally receive encouragement from former students that I was more successful as a teacher than I thought at the time, what I taught them isn’t likely to touch their children or grandchildren.

Working as a counselor/interviewer in a Federal jobs program put a little money into the pockets of the participants who learned to play the system. But even if I helped change anyone’s life, the effect of that won’t last long, either.

No matter how successful I was during most of my computer programming career, my prize accomplishments were about to become obsolete–no legacy possibilities there–at the time I was transferred into something I proved highly inept at. I hope nobody will remember my failures there.

Although Kathleen will remember me as a loving husband (assuming I die first) and my daughter may remember me as a loving father, how can I continue to have a positive influence on them–much less to touch future generations?

I’ve written over two hundred Christian songs and some poems and short plays as well. But the songs have never been published or sung by anyone else and my other writings were published in newspapers and magazines that future readers will not have access to or care about.

No wonder Pastor Gus got so upset at the realization that his life wasn’t going to count for much once he was gone. He didn’t mind the thought of being forgotten. But he wanted to do something that would be remembered and accomplish a lot of good, even without his name attached to it.

Maybe that’s why The Devil & Pastor Gus, which is due out on November 25 of this year, is so special to me. Maybe that novel will prove to be my legacy.

What have you done that you think/hope will outlast you and have a positive effect on others in the future? Won’t you share that with us by leaving a comment?


I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing”–check it out HERE. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

Best regards,