We simply need to write the books we have to write or want to read. The Authors Collection.

Caleb Pirtle III
Caleb Pirtle III

I often wonder why I write. Then Toni Morrison told me why.

She said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

So I do.

I either had the good fortune or the misfortune of being on session of a Presbyterian Church during the middle of a bitter, knock-down-drag-out, no-holds-barred, back-stabbing, in-fighting controversy over whether a pastor should stay or go, whether there was any reason he should stay or go, or whether there was any way to forgive him for what he had done in the Name of the Lord.

No winners.

Everyone lost.

We lost friends.

We lost respect.

We lost a preacher.

We lost each other.

We lost a reason for going to church.

I remember thinking, “If these are God’s people, then I think he should shuffle the deck and deal again.” And I was among them, as bad as it got, as good as it god, as frustrating as it became.

The turmoil inside me simmered and festered, and finally it became a novel. I presented it as a serial on Caleb and Linda Pirtle, Wicked Little Lies, then published it as a novel on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

COVER2WICKEDLITTLELIES8-200x300This wasn’t the story I had lived through. But the characters were all there. Human nature can take good, honest, god-fearing people and turn them into verbal assassins. I’ll never forget the morning that my best friend and my attorney stood before the congregation and asked them to throw me out of the church.

They didn’t.

I did.


I had a few.

I remember the summer we decided to vacation in New Mexico. I never booked reservations in those days. I just drove until I got to where I was going and looked for a place to stay after I rolled into town.

Santa Fe had a big bowling tournament. I didn’t know Santa Fe had a big bowling tournament. Everybody in the world who owned, borrowed, or stole a bowling ball was in town. There wasn’t a room at any hotel, big or small, either on silk stocking or skid row.

No trouble. I took the first road out of town and kept driving until I reached Los Alamos, which happened to be one of life’s most pleasant surprises. For the first time, I began to stumble across bits and pieces of information on the physicists, chemists, and scholars who retreated into the mountains and labs of Los Alamos to work in top secret and build the Atomic Bomb.

I was mesmerized.

I knew it had happened.

Now I had seen where it happened.

Over the years, I found quite a few nonfiction books on the Manhattan Project, and I ran across some nonfiction books on spies who smuggled our secrets to Russia. I’m sure there are novels that cover the project during a frightening time in our lives, but I didn’t find one.

So I wrote one. It appeared as a VG Serial, Conspiracy of Lies, and has since made its way to the various eRetailer sites.

The more I think about it, the more I believe that Toni Morrison was right.

We have an idea. We sit around and wait for others to craft it. And when they don’t, we have to sit down and write the story, or we’ll burst. It keeps pounding inside our chest until we let it spill out onto the screen of a Kindle. It’s never quiet, and it never goes away, and the story keeps right on pounding and suffocating us until we get it told.

Please click the book cover to read more about Caleb Pirtle’s books on Amazon.

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  • Bert Carson

    I love every word of this post and would only add one tiny thought to what you and Toni said… if it’s been written but badly then you should write it well. Thanks for the reminder Caleb.

    • Caleb Pirtle

      Bert: Thanks for saying it. I wish I had. You are right. There are, I’m afraid, a lot of great stories badly told. The good writers, the Bert Carsons of the world, can turn them into gems.

  • I agree with Bert – great post! Made me want to read all your books until I discovered you are the author of 55 books, I’m wowed! I’ll start with Wicked Little Lies…

    • Caleb Pirtle

      Thanks, Claude, but you don’t want to read them all. Thanks for looking at Wicked Little Lies.

  • jack43

    Nothing to add. If I try, I’ll only babble. Even Bert jumped in and furnished the only reasonable thing I would want to add. So, thanks for the posting and the quote from Toni Morrison. I hadn’t heard or read it before and she’s someone worth listening to, that’s for sure. BTW, so are you.

    • Caleb Pirtle

      I believe that, word for word, Toni Morrison is the best pure writer of this generation.

      • jack43

        Boy, you sure know how to start a fight, don’t you? Yes, Toni Morrison is right up there, but how about E.L. Doctorow, just to mention one?

        • Caleb Pirtle

          Doctorow is pure power, and I love his works. Toni is pure power combined with the poetry of the written word.

  • Darlene Jones – Author

    The best expression of the “why” of writing that I’ve ever seen. You rock!

    • Caleb Pirtle

      Aren’t you the kind one.

      • Darlene Jones – Author

        Just honest.

  • I’ve been in the middle of some religious/political fights in my life. They are vicious and require the people on the receiving end to regroup and reconsider their values. A love-hate relationship with the church is about as good as I have been able to pull out of that fire.

    • Caleb Pirtle

      Religious fights are the most bitter of all. No Christians come out of eiher side.

  • Gae-Lynn Woods

    Wow. Isn’t it lovely how some of life’s most traumatizing events can inspire great writing? And some of life’s most interesting hotel dilemmas. I’m glad you shared the story behind Wicked Little Lies, Caleb. That bumps it up my reading list.

    • Caleb Pirtle

      It was hell at the time, Gae-Lynn. I’d rather find my inspiration some other place.

      • Gae-Lynn Woods

        I know, Caleb. Even our little church isn’t immune to those hot disagreements over pastors and money. (And we’re Methodists, for goodness sake. Does religion get any more tame?) Twice, about half the congregation split and went elsewhere. Which is quite a feat in a church this small.

        When I said it was lovely, I certainly didn’t mean the experience; rather, the fact that you have the courage and creativity to turn such trauma into compelling reading.

        • Caleb Pirtle

          Of course, I’m of the belief that it takes a little pain to birth the right words. You can’t write about tears if you’ve never cried.

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