Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Forty-Four

The Throbbing Heart

Alexander M Zoltai


Joe was a writer.

Well, he did write—hadn’t been published—was totally confused about the clash between “traditional publishing” versus “self-publishing”—had three novels in various drawers; and, was thinking of telling all his friends that he really wasn’t, after all, a writer…

Yet, “something” inside said he was only spinning his wheels, was frozen in fear of failure, spent too much time doubting what he’d written, should slap himself and either submit his manuscripts to some publisher or learn how to self-publish...

He spent the better part of a year re-checking his revisions of all three novels—making sure everything hung together—felt they were worth something—wished he could convince himself that people needed to experience the stories; but, couldn’t seem to move forward…

He began hanging out at the café for longer and longer spells—tried to find his bearings—attempted to discover the inspiration to Act

He’d created the beginnings for six more novels, about 1,500 words each; but, after four weeks, he’d not found the power to take action on the books sitting in his drawers.

He thought he should, perhaps, hang out somewhere else…

Right then, a diminutive man approached and said, “Excuse me, Sir, the café is quite full, may I share your table?”

Joe dazedly said, “Sure…”, and continued typing (he had no idea what he was typing…).

After a few minutes, the man said, “I couldn’t help but notice your typing away there… Are you a writer?”

Joe stopped and stared at the man…

After a number of seconds, the man said, “Sir…?”

Joe said, “Yes…”

The man said, with a lilt in his voice, “So am I.”

Joe muttered, “Uh, well, no… not really… just a dabbler…”

The man looked intently at Joe for at least a minute while Joe sat frozen in his inner turmoil, then said, “I have the suspicion you are a fine writer.”

Joe sat…

“Am I right, Sir?”

Finally, Joe said, “I’ve tried… I’ve got three novels at home… can’t seem to do anything with them…”

“Ah! I totally understand, Sir. I remember a friend at University counseling me about how to assure myself I would succeed as a writer… He gave me a quote that I couldn’t help but memorize: ‘Purge thou thy heart that We may cause fountains of wisdom and utterance to gush out therefrom, thus enabling thee to raise thy voice among all mankind.‘ He said it was from a Prophet called Bahá’u’lláh… I’m not sure about Prophets and all; but, that quote sounded like God talking to me…”

Joe slowly passed out, his head lowering onto the table in a descending series of dips and lifts…

The man rushed to the counter and got a cup of water, returned, dipped his hand in the cup, and flicked the water on Joe’s face, three times…

Joe opened his eyes, wiped at the water, looked at the man, and asked him to write the quote down.


It took three more months of soul-searching; but, Joe finally realized he Had to get his books into readers hands, Had to do it sooner than later, Had to learn how to self-publish because he knew no traditional house would accept his works—far too radically different—not mainstream at all…


Joe never saw the diminutive man again; but, as he continued to hang out at the café, working to promote his books in various ways on the ‘Net, he was also praying that he’d meet another struggling writer so he could share the quote that so rocked his world:

Purge thou thy heart that We may cause fountains of wisdom and utterance to gush out therefrom, thus enabling thee to raise thy voice among all mankind.


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4 responses to “Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Forty-Four

  1. dgkaye May 23, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    Beautiful story Alex. It’s funny how so many writers hesitate to call themselves writers as though we need some sort of inner validation. :)


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