Category Archives: letters to readers

Writer’s License.

Hello, dear readers.

A word, if I may, about writers and their characters.

It is my opinion that any writer will derive character from a blend of personal, observational experience and imagination. As such, any writer who rejects this is denying the very enterprise itself.

If, at any time, you think you see either yourself or someone you know in a work of fiction, trust that the writer likely knew somebody very much like you or created a composite out of several individuals. The beauty of storytelling is that it mimics life itself, but the truth in such stories lies in the messages they carry and the value derived.

So, next time you take a novel off of a bookshelf, remember that nobody lives in a vacuum. We all express our strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and dreams every time we enter the fray. Perhaps your life, viewed through the eyes of the next author, will be of benefit and service to someone else. That is both the point, and the purpose.


Thank you!


Yours in the story,

Ruth Ann Scanzillo,




Dear Ghost Writer:


Hello!  It’s me. One of your favorites.

The Pharisee, in the Scriptures, did [publicly] proclaim, in prayer no less, his indulged gratitude that he was “not as other men  – proud, boastful.” You may know the story. Whereas, the other guy, the Publican, he prayed in secret.

I’m told I should pray for my enemies, those that hate and spitefully use me. Perhaps I should. But, perhaps even that much attention is more than you deserve; after all, I’m writing this – am I not?

Seems there’s a whole culture out there, my friend Nicole calls it one of “desperation” (not unlike that of which Thoreau wrote in the woods), that feeds off of the pearls cast by unknowns who, otherwise, have lives that they have cultivated by sheer effort and hard work. Are you a member of that class?

Who knows? Maybe your books will sell. After all, those sleazy rags that absorb the snot from sneezing children in the grocery line apparently do well enough to reappear every week on the racks next to the artificially sweetened breath mints. It could very well be that your audience can be found among them.

Yeah. Call me bitter. But, I do possess what you likely do not: authenticity. I inherited this from both my parents. They never meant a single thing to you, but no matter; the universe has to be big enough to reward them both, at some point. And, I guess, by posting this, I’m declaring my willingness to wait for the day when goodness and truth get their crowns back from the marauding mercenaries. I guess I’m saying I can wait. Because I don’t need to scramble for my next paycheck so that the powder, waiting for everybody else, can find its way into the lining of my purse. If that’s your story, what I feel for you is pity.

Carry on, little starling. Time waits for no one, and you have a crime to commit.



© Ruth Ann Scanzillo Copyright 12/8/15  All rights reserved. p.s. I am, actually, a published writer; more than one of my essays has appeared in our local newspaper, the Erie TIMES-NEWS, and I am copyrighted at the Library of Congress.








Dear Alleged Students of Creative Writing,

Some of you might be surprised to hear from me. I’m the blogger whose essays and poems you’ve been pilfering for the past several months.

You’ve likely garnered for yourself some kind of “passing grade”, using the efforts of those from whose lives you’ve been flat out stealing. But, the back end fee for you will come in its own time.

It’ll arrive in the form of some casual slip.

Never having actually spent any energy writing your own story, you’ll be forced as you move through life to keep some seriously sharp razors. You’ll have to take stock of everything you do and say, sorting through the lies and the truths until you can no longer make such distinctions. You’ll probably resort to escape, in that case; you’ll depend more heavily on products to dull your wits and numb your senses. And, you’ll attract those of like precious faith. The vermin. The bottom feeders.

You might acquire much in the way of material goods, and run with the wealthiest. But, you won’t have developed any real style or character, no definitive brand apart from the trendiest copies. What you think passes for sophisticated will be cheesy, kitschy, been there/done that. You’ll become heavily dependent upon those whose job it is to set the patterns for people like you, the ones who have no creative spark, no ideas, or what has always been recognized as originality.

As time passes, you’ll get frantic, noticing signs of age. You’ll spend all you’ve acquired trying to maintain the illusion of youth. You’ll be a bore, a load, an undesirable. People will pretend to like you, until your money and your luck runs out, and then you’ll do something rash in the hopes of getting caught so that you can spend the last years of your life in a closed room where the meals come three times a day and you sleep until you die.

All that.

Just because you chose to sneak your way through a college course on the back of somebody who made her own way in the world – who showed up, never quit, and made an honest wage doing respectable work, honoring her parents gifts by living them out and then writing about it. Somebody who saved money, then bought her own house, her own car, and set about living a life that didn’t prey off of others.

Yes. You’ll sail through the last weeks of finals, on the efforts of those whose lives will have left something of worth behind. I’d wish you good luck, but you don’t deserve my earnest wishes. You’ll get exactly what is coming to you: an empty shell that pretends to be a life.


The Blogger.

p.s. if you are reading this site for the first time, do us all a favor; print this post, and distribute it to your English professors. Oh; and, include the blog address: 

Maybe enough college departments will visit this site, recognize a couple pieces, and catch the little lizards by their tiny little tales.

Thank you very much.

© Ruth Ann Scanzillo