I shall not fool myself again. I shall immure my heart in the living rock a thousand fathoms deep, where it will trouble no son of Adam, and vex no daughter of Eve. And though I have nothing to gain by my labours, labour I shall: for I cast my defiance in the teeth of oblivion. I have seen that no reward can come for my work in this world, for the longing of my heart is denied, and the desire of my soul is shut up against me. Asking bread, I have received stones; casting my net for fish, I have caught serpents. Very well, I shall live upon stones and serpents while I may; and though none may mark my passing, or remember my works thereafter, at least it shall not be said that I ceased from my duty. I shall sow, though I cannot reap; I shall pour out the last measure of myself, though the vessel be not refilled. Let it be for a bitter jest; and if all the world have no manner of use for me, nor for the work of my pen, still let the jest be played. God at least may laugh.


  1. Stephen J. says

    Yoiks! Most well-written, yet disturbing; if this is actually a description of your current state of mind, I shall hasten to purchase Death Carries a Camcorder posthaste, as it is the only method of support I can think of that may provide tangible proof of itself.

    If it is not, well, I should purchase Camcorder anyways and this is as good an excuse therefor as any.

    • Please bear in mind, I have nothing but praise for the support I’ve had from my readers; except that there are too few of you, which is entirely my own fault.

  2. Stephen J. says

    Also, if you felt like doing another M*A*S*H column, I’d be all over that like a cheap suit, as an old friend of mine likes to say.

  3. *worries*

  4. Clearly I am in some measure to blame, I have not yet purchased each of your books in each possible format. With my birthday approaching, I’ll hold off until any gifts are received, but remedy it thereafter.

    For a physical copy of Lord Talon’s Revenge, which seller will send you the largest amount of scratch?

    • Scratch is not my immediate problem; isolation is. I’m just getting my motivations kicked out from under me, and it makes it hard to care whether I get any work done.

      However, if you should wish to buy a paper copy of Lord Talon, I get the biggest cut if you buy directly from the CreateSpace store:

      • Well, I am too far away to make inviting you out for coffee practicable, but I reckon a few more dollars is my bit to helping you enjoy coffee with someone.

        However, should you ever find yourself in the greater Seattle area, do let me know. I would consider it an honor to stand you a cup of coffee or a pint of ale as circumstances and preference dictate.

  5. Surely, the antidote for despair is hope. Speaking of which, is there a planned publication date for Style is the Rocket?

  6. Mark Butterworth says

    I offered you money for work of your pen and never received a reply, but it made me think of your situation and occasional complaints, and the words of my creative writing professor when I was young. “Writers write.”

    You can’t stop ’em. Like me. I’ve hardly made a dime for some really fine work (generally too good for the masses), but I’ve got eight good novels under my belt and some 24 hours of music from my work as a musician/composer.

    Yes, it can be depressing that few read my books or hear my music but I keep producing because, you see, I’m a writer and a composer. You can’t stop me. There is something about producing things of beauty and excellence that gladdens my heart despite the isolation and obscurity. Not to mention how the challenges of learning my craft thrilled me with the satisfaction of accomplishment.

    I even offered you, maybe a year ago, a chance to collaborate on a project that Liberty Island wanted to publish. A chance to cut your teeth on work possibly within your ken; and you wouldn’t have been isolated but working with an accomplished writer given an encomium by Adam Bellow.

    What I think, at this point, is that you enjoy wallowing in misery more than taking bright ideas and putting them into flesh (or language).

    I have been depressed, miserable, and suffering from debilitating disease, but even when suicidal, I was writing or creating music, sometimes my most beautiful work.

    And if you can’t write, you can read, and work at craft

    “Nuff said.

  7. Matt Osterndorf says

    …and though none may mark my passing, or remember my works thereafter, at least it shall not be said that I ceased from my duty.

    I’m bad with anything past pro forma reassurances and in your case I don’t know you anywhere nearly well enough to even make a go of it.

    But I will at least attempt to assuage this particular concern. Mr Simon, I intend to sing your praises (when the situation calls for it) at all possible opportunities for the next several decades. Your essays are, as far as I’m concerned, in the same tier as Orwell’s* and Lewis’ and Chesterton’s, and if I have to explain, briefly, who you are after quoting you, so be it. I have little to offer you but youth and an enthusiasm for your work, but in this case, perhaps those count for something.

    In the meantime, your struggle to attract more readers is, of course, monstrously unfair. In a more nearly just world, you wouldn’t want for attention.

    I will be praying for you.

    Please do keep writing.

    *I include Orwell reluctantly here, because your style and philosophical orientation are much closer to Lewis and Chesterton than to his. But as his essays were my first proper introduction to the format, I didn’t want to leave him out.

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