Dead guy wants me to stop talking about writing novel

I subscribe to the Wordserve Water Cooler, a community blog that shares posts by writers, editors and publishing types as a resource for aspiring and practicing writers. I’ll admit, I mainly subscribe as a daily reminder that I should be writing more important things than navel-gazing columns and comedy sketches about talking fruit. I feel guilty about the fact that I write that stuff anyway, and that’s all part of the experience.

Many times the posts have the general attitude of “Think it’s a waste of time to try and write a novel in a market that doesn’t buy from, nor support, more than a handful of well-known novelists? Well it isn’t.” That’s certainly what this post from the other day argued.

Entitled “Why Bother?” by writer Alice Crider, the post begins with an odd quotation that I’ll share here:

“Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book.” –Cicero (Roman statesman, died 43 BC)

Now, we could look at this the way Crider did. Ha-ha, even in Rome there were too many books in the marketplace and yet people still wrote. That old Cicero sure was a stick in the mud.

Of course, another way of looking at this is to remember the fact that Cicero “died 43 BC” at the end of a sword, his tongue cut out by allies of the first triumvirate and tacked to the front of the lectern in the Roman Senate. (Ha-ha, Cicero talks too much). Julius Caesar, one of the triumvirate, was the very kind of person Cicero was talking about in that quote. Caesar was smooth, fashionable, interested in narrative and was driven, like many writers, by the desire to prove his worth, despite the haughty constructs of “the rules.”

I read this and thought of the days struggles to address some lippy attitudes from select minors in our household. I thought about how I’ve been turning over and over my plan to write a work of fiction, a great work, a great American work, dare I say it … DARE I. And then I thought about Cicero.

I took to Twitter. Merged that quote with a Scooby Doo reference.

Ruh-row–> “Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book.” Cicero (Roman statesman, murdered 43 BC)
— Aaron Brown (@minnesotabrown) August 11, 2013

Sigh. “A republic, if you can keep it.” (Ben Franklin, died 1790 from being old and a little fat by the standards of his time)


  1. I finished my novel over a year ago. Although it’s far superior to 95 percent of other books out there, it has inspired nothing but indifference among agents and publishers so far. Most of them reject the book without even reading any of it. And then I look at some of the books they have published, and they’re total crap.

    In desperation, I sat down and tried to write some crappy fiction myself, just to get published, but I couldn’t do it. Despite my best efforts, quality kept seeping in. It’s discouraging.

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