For the sake of a brand...

What would you do to protect and foster a brand? Would you get a tattoo of your favorite online streaming video service? Would you promise not to compete against or bad-mouth the purveyors of a product or service?

Would you misrepresent the company you work for? Would you misrepresent yourself as an agent of that company? Would you pretend a product is good when you know it isn't? Would you exaggerate the health of the underlying fundamentals in order to attract investors? Would you pretend that everything is fine when you know just how very, very far from fine it all is?

Questions like this are on my mind today.

The conclave of Cardinals is deciding which of them will be Pope, taking over the church at "a difficult, challenging time", as the newscasters say (see UPDATE). Politicians in Washington D.C. are putting out competing budgets, arguing over how to rearrange the deck chairs while the ocean liner sinks underneath them.

And I'm still scribbling away, fitfully writing unimportant spasms of flash fiction while I dither about the novel I wrote, the half-novels I never finished and the proto-novels I haven't written yet. Plots and characters flash by, none yet engaging enough to strike a spark in kindling that I hope is not completely sodden.

The only saving grace about this situation is that when I call myself a writer, I can point to the things I've written as evidence. When I call myself a novelist, I can point to the novel which is now being pushed into finding a place in the world.

I'm not obligated to add any falsifying modifiers to those nouns. No "brilliant young writer" (which is amusingly untrue in so many ways), no "prolific novelist", no "inspiring author", etc. I don't need to lie about being bestselling, beloved, successful, respected, controversial, cutting edge, breakthrough or standard-bearing.

I just have to write and keep writing after a disappointment. All of this is for you, dear reader - or at least for those of you non-TLDR folks who've read this far. I'd hate for you to think I was misrepresenting myself or censoring myself for the sake of the Tony Noland brand. I'm not a wonderful, prolific writer, but neither am I protecting those who molest innocent children or destroying countries with mindless demagoguery.

UPDATE: Since I wrote this, Archbishop of Buenos Ares Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been elevated to the papacy, taking the name of Pope Francis. I wish him well - between the Catholic church as it exists now and the way it should be lies a tremendous amount of contrition and soul-searching.

||| Comments are welcome |||
Help keep the words flowing.


  1. I wouldn't call the flash "unimportant." It's how I discovered you, for one. In my experience, flash also has a habit of blowing up into larger works, sometimes egged on by readers. Something you wrote two weeks ago might have you pounding away at the keyboard next month.

    This post also asks a question I've been asking myself. If something I wrote hit a genre Top 100 list on Amazon, do I get to call myself a "best-selling author"? It made someone's best-seller list, after all.

  2. No offense, but it's not up to you to decide what other people think is important. No one knows what impact they have on the lives of others, at least not fully. Something that strikes you as trivial could spark something in another that leads them down a different path.

    And what's wrong with writing flash fiction? We're all making things up anyway. People are way too serious. Fiction, imo, is meant to be enjoyed, and I enjoy yours.

    So there.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Two years ago, I didn't make it into the third round of the ABNA, either. The people they gave my partial to read weren't even in the right genre - they were reading my urban fantasy as though it were horror, so of course it didn't progress. I was annoyed and frustrated.

    I just sold that novel to Samhain on my 19th publisher & agent try. So, keep plugging and pitching, and you'll sell it. :) You're a talented guy, and it's a great book. It'll happen.

    Persistence must be key... It took me two tries to get this comment right. ;)

    Cecilia D.

  5. Guys, you are all gems. It was pointed out to me on twitter that it's not fair for me to judge how valuable, inspirational, etc. my work is... that right belongs to my readers.

    I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing, keep working toward the goal I've been working toward all along: to get better and to keep you coming back for more.


Thank you for leaving a comment. The staff at Landless will treat it with the same care that we would bestow on a newly hatched chick. By the way, no pressure or anything, but have you ever considered subscribing to Landless via RSS?