Some like to do the tell, then show. That’s a way you tell them what they’re going to get from it, but then you show it in action. So you can tell somebody simply, “This is going to improve your life if you get this today. It’s going to really make you a happier person.” Well, you just told them. You kind of forced it down their throat, and that creates an adversarial relationship because you’re telling them and trying to convince them, and they’re trying not to be taken.
Instead, you could give a story of somebody who used your product. “John was exactly where you are at. And he was pretty much at the end of his rope. He didn’t even believe this stuff was going to work, but on just a whim he tried it anyway. And then within 7 days John started noticing an improvement in his demeanor. He was happier; he was more jolly to be around. And, in fact, he started getting invited to places he normally wasn’t getting invited to simply because he had more of a magnetic personality.”
See, then you can fill in the details. So you’re selling all the benefits there, but you’re not telling them. You’re not coming out and saying, “You’ve got to get this. It’s going to improve your life. I’m hard-selling you and beating you over the head,” but you’re just showing them. “Look at John. John did all this great stuff.” So stories show instead of tell, and that’s very, very important. Think about it if you’re watching a movie. Do they say, “There’s John. He’s this big, mean biker dude. Watch out for John. He’s a tough dude.” They don’t even say anything. They don’t even have a narrative usually. Usually John pulls up in his big old hog. Vroom, vroom. He’s got the bandanas, the tattoos on, and just a mean snarl on his face. So they’re showing you through actions that John’s a bad dude instead of just coming out and telling you.
And that’s how you use stories to show people and demonstrate things through action instead of just telling them. And that’s why it’s such a great tool for persuasion. And I think without fail with maybe a couple exceptions, all my sales letter have stories. And that’s the default setting that I try to give everything in a story format. And stories are just really great for selling people simply for the fact is that it engages them; you can show instead of tell them; and then you can give them all sorts of information that will heighten their ability to say yes.
Proudly Presented from www.writerssecrets.com Book Series
Excerpt from “In My Own Voice – Reading from My Collected Works Vol. 5 – New England Tales” by Dr. Jeffrey Lant
Book available at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M0E9X20
Chapter 1 “Autumn comes to New England, September, 2016. And we are glad of it.”
Special reading by Dr. Jeffrey Lant at:
Author’s program note. Our first travelers to Massachusetts arrived at Plymouth just in time for Winter, too late for Autumn, specifically trodding on terra firma, December 26, 1620… and were they ever irritated, taking the opportunity to lambast the luckless captain who delivered them so late after a most disagreeable voyage, my dear, anxious for something new and exciting, but not (so they all later agreed) so new and exciting as the standard walloping, punishing New England Winter they came to know so well.
And so the mystique of Autumn, as something worth having and decidedly superior to what follows, was planted at once… and has never waned. And for good reason.
Autumn in New England is not merely a season. It is a mood, evocative, sacerdotal, an essential experience for the sensitive and anyone with the soul of a poet. It is a season that forces us to deal with transition, decay, transient beauty, and history scattered around and through the hamlets, towns, and occasional city. Indeed there is a feeling, never shared with outsiders and casual visitors, that each and every citizen of New England is merely history that hasn’t quite happened yet. History in New England is not merely vestiges of things past; it is present reality, no ghost, but events of long ago, our neighbors still, as fresh today as at inception. This view of ancestors puzzles casual travelers who have no ancestors. They come from places without History… and are, of course, of no consequence whatever. They naturally take umbrage and as many pictures of dying foliage as the traffic allows. We are glad to see the back of them.
States that more (or less) make up New England.
It is well known to even the least educated that New England is comprised of six states: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Connecticut. The least educated, however, know nothing more than that and are not, therefore, in a position to inform you of sundry facts which if left untold to you will create problems for life and submerge your social standing. Here are the facts:
* Massachusetts is the largest New England state and offers a dizzying array of important events, people, ideas, institutions, etc. I don’t have either the time or inclination to share these significant details… for that you must visit any one of our dwindling number of bookstores and buy something. We need the money.
Autumn in Massachusetts is most about students arriving at pluperfect academies and institutions of higher learning graced by Corinthian columns and departments of humanities beset by troubles and the budget axe at every side. Such institutions attract the brightest students of the world. Sadly, even these are less educated than their parents, though they pay substantially more for what no one anymore considers a “good” education. Future students enrolled in such places in what is known as the Bay State will come for only a few weeks or even a few days, the prime objective being to say they “went” to (whatever institution they may claim) and to have their pictures taken in front of those venerable columns. Of course, it goes without saying that tuition and fees will not decline; rather the reverse. You will remember: we need the money.
Rhode Island, minute state, longest name.
Rhode Island, the littlest state, suffers from an indelible inferiority complex which has produced in once nick-named “Little Rhody” the insistent temerity of the “mouse that roared.” Rhode Islanders take no guff, and with that chip on the shoulder, defy you to knock it off. Even the boldest think twice before they try…
Rhode Island and Providence Plantations was founded by zealous brethen who grew appalled and aggravated with the sanctimonies and regulations of their former colleagues in Massachusetts and walked to a new destiny, one in which their truth was The Truth. So busy with the business of God, they had no time for the wistful vistas and God-delivered splendors of Autumn.
In due course, after their relationship with God was well and truly cemented and its manifestations — money — began to pour in… Rhode Islanders of means (and there were many) had no time for Autumn… they were busily spending their millions on sad copies of European culture and so nicking their fortunes and ensuring the sniggers of more enlightened, less respectful generations.
Later, in recent years, Rhode Islanders still had no time for Autumn. Gambling, lurid sex, and corrupt politics held sway… and to those who indulged the only season that mattered was the season in which their nocturnal activities waxed.
As a result of all these episodes Rhode Island came to know nothing at all of Autumn… something the more enlightened amongst them should regret, but probably do not.
There was no “Massachusetts” in the Old Country; there was no “Rhode Island.” But there was a peaceful place, a verdant place… called Hampshire. It is no wonder new citizens of the new land wished to memorialize it and pass a nostalgic hour reliving the place they would always remember as “home.” Such a place is a good place to see and to reflect upon the verities of Autumn, its beauty, its sadness that such beauty must be fleeting.
Go, then, to New Hampshire where their by-word is “Live free, or die.” It is a silly motto and would be better rendered “Live free, or fight,” something feisty, bold, gutsy, uplifting. But at least the folks in New Hampshire mean well, though that isn’t always enough. After all, at a time of fiscal austerity, they have wasted millions promoting that foolish motto of theirs.
Now we come to the Holy of Autumnal Holies, a place as sanctified and revered as Delphi. It’s everything that every Sunday travel supplement says it is… villages rendered and revered by Currier and Ives, places so quaint and tidy you are sure they are imaginary. I confess. I love Vermont in Autumn, and so that is when I scheduled my classes at the University of Vermont. One bows low before such a riot of glorious colors and swiftly dying verdure. Still, I have a pet concern… Vermont is not a name of Old England; rather it is a name of Ancien France, for Vermont (“Green mountain”) was an outpost of the Bourbons and reminds us they dreamed imperially, too, if less successfully than England. Perhaps locals kept the name which concerns me because it was tangible evidence that they had pulverized those Frenchies… even to the extent of annexing these words from their language for eternity… an insult to the people most conscious of the outrage of insult. En garde!
As far as Autumn in New England is concerned, after the “in your face” exuberance of Vermont, the rest is dross. Maine, after all, was just a hunk of Massachusetts ripped off the Commonwealth in 1820 and established as a “free state,” to balance the “slave state” of Missouri then entering the Union. But we canny folk of Massachusetts are glad; Mainers are poor and exigent. They really need the money.
And as for Connecticut, the less said the better. Connecticut looks today as it has looked for eons south to New York and Pennsylvania. The folks in Hartford and environs condescend to the rest of New England. We hate them cordially and have made sure to sell them everything we can at inflated prices. You see, they have the money.
At the end…
Now you know about Autumn in New England. Book your tickets at once. Bring the family; the more the merrier. And, remember, bring all your credit cards and instruments of credit. Keep in mind at all times, we need the money.
Oh, and by the way, should you like a little light music to accompany this article, I recommend Edith Piaf singing “Autumn Leaves”, in both Johnny Mercer’s English and Jacques Prevert’s French. It is superbe. Do it now before the falling leaves have all drifted past your window…
Check out Dr. Jeffrey Lant’s Author Page at Author Central for all his latest books, events and blog posts.
Make priority # 1 to have a writing place that’s used only for your writing.
It could be a room, a little nook or even just a desk but make it your very own writing sanctuary.
“But the Internet in general—and social media in particular—fosters this notion that everything should be shared, everything is communal. When it works, it’s great. But it specifically doesn’t work, I think, in the realm of cultural production … Good novels aren’t collaborated on. Good novels are produced by people who voluntarily isolate themselves, and go deep, and report from the depths on what they find.” ~ Jonathan Franzen
Interestingly Completely Novel points out that “Maya Angelou wrote in hotel rooms, requesting that everything be removed from the walls, in order to avoid distractions. She brought note pads, a dictionary, a thesaurus and a Bible in order to write, plus sherry and cigarettes for a little ‘down time’. –
JK Rowling famously wrote the first Harry Potter book in an Edinburgh cafe. Taking her baby out for a walk was the best way to get her to fall asleep, and then she could carry on writing in a cafe.”
See more at: Completely Novel
Here’s 4 unusual spots where famous writers found their writing sanctuary:
• Gertrude Stein discovered that the driver’s seat of her Model T Ford was a perfect place to write. Shopping expeditions around Paris were particularly productive for the writer. While her partner, Alice B. Toklas, ran errands, Stein would stay in their parked car and write.
• D.H. Lawrence preferred to write outdoors, beneath the shade of a tree. He found a trunk to lean against wherever he went, from pine trees in New Mexico to great firs in Germany’s Black Forest. Discussing his predilection, Lawrence noted, “The trees are like living company.”
• In 1917, Virginia Woolf and her husband, Leonard, started a small publishing company in their basement. Despite the new venture, Woolf did not give up writing. Every morning she walked down to the basement, and strode past the printing press and into a storage room with a cozy old armchair. Her pen would fly while the press whirred in the next room.
• Agatha Christie had two important demands for the renovation of her mansion. She informed her architect, “I want a big bath, and I need a ledge because I like to eat apples.” Christie constructed her plots in a large Victorian tub, one bite at a time.
Find 10 more at the source of this article: Writers Digest
But Remember –
“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word to paper.” ~ E.B. White
Dr. Jeffrey Lant’s Writing Sanctuary in his “Blue Room”
The picture with caption were from his memoir – “A Connoisseur’s Journey. Being the artful memoirs of a man of wit, discernment, pluck and joy.”
Available at: http://writerssecrets.co
The video below is from video snippets caught as Dr. Lant was writing his memoir live onscreen. He is reading the section from his memoir about his writing space he is working in, his office or as he calls it his “space capsule”
See 40 video snippets caught in the creation of “A Connoisseur’s Journey” also available at: http://writerssecrets.co
A Gift from Dr. Lant to help you in your writing endeavors –
Proudly presented from www.writerssecrets.com Article Series
Author’s program note. Because I remember that you are, genetically at least, some substantial fraction Hungarian, I have chosen Franz Liszt’s “Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2″ (published 1851) to accompany this article. Stirring isn’t it…. and also just a tad bombastic? Your ancestors in Buda or Pest no doubt enjoyed it… and I hope you will, too.
You were right….. again.
You told me I would forget the date… and I did. I could claim “pressure of work”, but we both know better. I could claim that I’m casual, even oblivious, to dates of anniversaries, birthdays, and such like, so unlike you with your mania for such accurate data.
In extremis I could say that my dyslexia (so useful at such times) so manifests itself. But we both know, you who know me so well, that that is so much balderdash… and so, despite a gentle reminder, I did, after all, forget.
Fortunately I am beyond the time in life when I think infallibility not only important but essential. I feel no resentment or even necessity to defend the indefensible, and can own up to inadequacy.
The plain truth is I missed your 70th birthday… and I mean to make up for it here and now.
You probably know, though I think I have never said, I have a particular interest in things Hungarian. I love tokay (you will remember the occasion I forced you to buy a good vintage)… I can quote the details concerning Hungary’s elevation to constitutional equity with Austria, so creating the Dual Monarchy (1867). (You cannot).
And of course I remain committed to a Habsburg restoration and to the renewal of the Kingdom of Hungary. That is why I am so punctilious about gathering the artifacts of the dynasty, including the signed photographs of his last Hungarian majesty, King Karol. I suspect, though I do not pry into a man’s unlikely obsessions, that you harbor such a commitment, too. If so, you have remained admirably and completely discrete, as you are about so many matters.
I went looking this morning at about 5 a.m. for an excellent book I possess on the history of the twin cities which became in due course Budapest. You would like this book, too, which is why I shall never lend it to you, though your acute organizational skills may defeat my objective… for, as usual, when you visit you will (you cannot help yourself) arrange and re-arrange titles I have thrown together helter-skelter. That affronts your abiding need for order, proper arrangement, and perfect clarity. I would like these traits, too, but I fear I cannot rise to them… and so the book I would like to find today… you will certainly find tomorrow. It may well migrate then with you to Connecticut and another fate, for you are tenacious of books.
One of the enduring links we share is the love of books. It has enabled us to spend companionable hours with maximum pleasure and communion but minimum words. Remember, if you will, the places in which we have indulged ourselves in this manner… London (often), New York (not often enough), a bevy of Italian cities, and memorably the isle of Capri, where in the shadow of Tiberius’ palace we enjoyed the many pleasures of words on the printed page especially on those extraordinary beaches where the sybaritic imperator sported and outraged the locals. Since history is so often written by the disapproving, I have long felt Tiberius got a bum rap. Perhaps, so advanced are your opinions on such matters, you agree, though you have gratefully supported the man without emulating his idiosyncrasies.
I feel compelled to touch on a few of the many aspects of foods we have shared. Here, as elsewhere, your habits are admirable, though, as elsewhere, they are strict, immutable, written in stone. I here have a confession to make. Have you wondered at the timing of my telephone calls, so often transpiring at 4 p.m.? This is deliberate, mischievous, designed to probe and challenge your predictable habits and tested regime. Forgetful of dates I may be… but I well remember just when you are preparing your evening meal… and mean to throw you off your schedule. So far, in many attempts, unsuccessfully. I am therefore in a position to aver, affirm, attest to the fact that you are a man of fierce habits, cherished, adhered to, set in cement.
My eating habits are, as you know, quite different… and it is because they are, I can offer a heartfelt thanks and appreciation for your conscientious care and concern. You eat… I forget to eat… you remind me to eat… I eat.
When we first met, so many years ago, I was immersed in writing a book (my first)… neglecting everything else. (Plus ca change.) This may have A) offended your sense of order, or B) roused your humanitarian feelings, or C) both.
I cannot say.
But I can say that your calls to remind me to eat were useful — and touching — and necessary. My kitchen was terra incognita for me, not for you. “You will find such and such a nutrient in such and such a place.” I didn’t know… you did… and if my thanks over the years had not been frequent and fulsome, I would say them all over again, always gratefully.
For decades now, I have been urging you (without noticeable effect) to open your fustian pocketbook and let the moths fly free. The Scots, of whom I am one, have a word for you, “near”, and since it is a word no one but Scots know or use, I can always use it with impunity. It is short, sweet and to the point, a combination of the niggardly, frugal, parsimonious and cheap.
For instance, consider the matter of your clothes. At once humbly and patriotically, I urge you to donate them to the Smithsonian Institution, for they are, at the very least notable, and arguably historic. Do this deed for God and country or for the tax deduction, but do it. Your popularity (as a worthy donor) will soar, and you’ll be helping your flagging candidate by assisting the economy, something he has proven manifestly unable to do. Help him here, while helping yourself.
“I am officially ‘old’ “.
When I called you the other day, you answered with the line above. It was at once a gentle reminder of what I had (again) forgotten… but more importantly it constituted an acknowledgement, a declaration, an admonition and a reality. We booked places on Time’s winged chariot at conception, as everyone does. But now we know what that means.
When you were born the world was mangled… all but glistening America, the only great power on earth. The sciences to which you have devoted your life were at the threshold of unimaginable advances. You have seen every development and, unlike so many of us isolated in the humanities, you have, because of your training, understood them.
That is why I treat your opinions in this matter with the respect they deserve. You have, principally in the classroom you graced so well, helped legions who all recall you with respect, not merely as a learned man, but as an honest man. I am an honest man, too, in part because of the example you have provided for so long.
Thus, I say this to you: stay clear headed and warm hearted to the end, whether that end be nigh or long delayed. Browning was not being merely optimistic when he wrote, “The best is yet to be.” He knew, however, that we must, all of us, take the best as we find it… for it, in some form or another, will always exist. And for me that will always include you.
About the Author
Dr. Jeffrey Lant is known worldwide. He started in the media business when he was 5 years old, a Kindergartner in Downers Grove, Illinois, publishing his first newspaper article. Since then Dr. Lant has earned four university degrees, including the PhD from Harvard. He has taught at over 40 colleges and universities and is quite possibly the first to offer satellite courses. He has written over 50 books, thousands of articles and been a welcome guest on hundreds of radio and television programs. He has founded several successful corporations and businesses including his latest at …writerssecrets.com
His memoirs “A Connoisseur’s Journey” has garnered nine literary prizes that ensure its classic status. Its subtitle is “Being the artful memoirs of a man of wit, discernment, pluck, and joy.” A good read by this man of so many letters. Such a man can offer you thousands of insights into the business of becoming a successful writer. Be sure to sign up now at www.writerssecrets.co
More can be found on Dr. Lant on his author page at: http://www.amazon.com/author/jeffreylant/
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Take a few minutes and check out the video below to join the ranks oF Published Authors.
Get writing tips and insights from a true master in the art of writing, Dr. Jeffrey Lant
Bring your Characters to life. Make them real. Speak to them. Ask them questions. Yah I know you’re talking to yourself but if you dig deep, bring out the details, really think it through, being really specific, this will make your characters more believable and easier for your readers to relate to them.
If you’re feeling a little stuck for how to start building your characters, Bethany Cadman over at Writers Life put together a wonderful list of question you could ask your character that will make them seem more real.
1. How old are they and do they act their age? Do they mind being that old or are they clinging to their youth? Perhaps they are old before their time?
2. What was their childhood like? How do they get on with their relatives? Are their parents still alive, and if not what happened?
3. What kind of relationships do they have with others? Do they have a partner, and if so is it a happy relationship? Do they have lots of friends or are they more of a recluse?
4. What hobbies and passions do they have? Find out what they love to do.
5. What makes them happiest?
See 5 more questions over at the source of this article Writers Life
Here’s something that may help – a list of Character words
For more writing tips go to http://writerssecrets.com/writers-secrets-tips/ plus
Proudly presented from www.writerssecrets.com E-Book Series
Dr. Lant is now writing his 31st book and he shares here some excerpts from his forth coming new book
“Happy and Glorious
Encounters with the Windsors”
Everyone has the collywobbles their first day of work. I was no exception.
Consider where my new work had taken me: Windsor Castle.
You’ve seen this seat of kings on the television, in films, and as the ending
or beginning place for so many lavish pageants. Windsor Castle was
founded in 1070 and has over the centuries since become the reigning
monarch’s residence, their home sweet home.
Buckingham palace is the shop, Balmoral is a place for excessive exercise
and clean, clean air. But Windsor is home, as the Queen herself
acknowledged when the Waterloo Chamber caught fire (November 20th,
1992). There the Queen joined the bucket brigade, just like Charles II when
London was in flames (1666). The Queen did her bit; the nation admired the
Queen. Oh yes, Windsor was home.
Now I had my own room in the castle, specifically in the Round Tower, and I
couldn’t have been happier, no doubt nauseously cheerful. I radiated good
cheer and high spirits on everyone, whether they liked it or not.
Once I had achieved the dignity of a Harvard PhD, I simply couldn’t wait to
escape from Cambridge, and to travel my own royal road to fame and glory.
Though it had never happened before, and I believe has not happened
since, I, a bona fide Yankee, was now to ascend the steps of the castle, an
ascension which could never have been imagined by my American
revolutionary antecedents, or perhaps by anyone in Britain.
To gain entry, I had to present my credentials to the powers that be, namely
Sir Robin Mackworth-Young (1920-2000), GCVO, the Royal Librarian. He
was a man who had no doubt that I, indeed anyone, would be impressed by
him. For not even Toad of Toad’s Hall had greater majesty and hauteur than
Sir Robin. It goes without saying, he hated me on sight. Equally it goes
without saying that I rendered irritating tit for supercilious tat. And this was
just the beginning.
I have always supposed that Mackworth-Young would have liked to have
trashed my unique application and passed on the opportunity of enjoying my
congenial company. Sadly for him, he could find no good reason for what
he so evidently desired.
After all, not only was I a Harvard PhD (admittedly of most recent vintage),
but I was also the select of His Excellency Walter Annenberg, the United
States Ambassador (1969-1974), a personal friend of Her Majesty.
Mackworth-Young may not have liked me, but those he needed to like him
most assuredly did.
Thus, one early morning, for I am of the early rising ilk, I took the train from
London to Slough, the only way to take the train from London to Windsor
and back again. Queen Victoria had a specially designed car for that bit of
track. It was feminine, stuffy, regal, and totally desirable. Alas, I only was in
that boudoir on wheels once, while it was stationary, and never was invited
for a more mobile journey.
Despite the fact that I was not travelling in the royal railway car, I exhibited
the most supreme happiness, for I, the prairie lad, was now en route to the
Queen’s residence and my destiny. Could someone please show me the
I walked up the slightly elevated pathway to the castle. I was about to show the
world what an ingenious Yankee could do when he had the chance.
Publish or Perish
All the great universities of the United States and beyond have an infallible
injunction: publish or perish. This meant that before academic advancement could
take place, you must present your peers with evidence of your dogged research
persistence, deft writing skills, and the ability to find and proclaim new truths.
I found a most remarkable way for altering the usual system to my decided
advantage. I created and perfected, and used to my utmost advantage, a new
way of doing business. Instead of writing one single refereed journal article, I
would use the same information in three different formats.
1) for my impending book
2) in a refereed journal, and
3) in what Sir Robin Mackworth-Young was pleased to call the ephemeral
press, that is to say newspapers and popular magazines.
For example, to give you but one illustration of many, namely the 1887 Golden
Jubilee coinage. You might suppose this was an unlikely place for an insight, but
you’d be wrong. I gathered all the information about this coinage from the
necessary information repositories, including the Mint, every British newspaper
of the period, the papers of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the designers
whose work would be vetted, including Boehm, Parliamentary debate minutes,
interdepartmental memoranda, etc., etc.
The result was impressive. Whereas my colleagues at Harvard and elsewhere
would work only on one article at a time, I, by contrast, would work on and benefit
Now imagine that every aspect of a great Royal Pageant could, upon research,
be divided into these three publication departments.
In short order, I produced dozens of articles which were first published in refereed
journals, second, in the popular press, and third, in my book which became
“Insubstantial Pageants”. As fast as you could say boiled asparagus, I was
publishing more such works of the highest quality than all my classmates at
Harvard put together. Honi soit qui mal y pense.
This day, my first working day in the castle, I looked closely at Queen Victoria’s
1887 statue by Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm, Baronet, RA. Here’s the story.
Boehm was a favorite of Queen Victoria’s and she selected his effigy for the new
coinage to be released upon the occasion of her 1887 Golden Jubilee on the
Unfortunately, the whole business of sculpture and new coinage design
became a complete muddle, all played out in public. Only the Queen liked the
statue, no one cared for the new coinage design, which suffered from lack of
denomination. As a result, the coinage lasted only six years, the shortest period
for any coinage in the 19th Century. I know all this because I literally wrote the
book on the subject.
“The Jubilee Coinage of 1887” by Jeffrey L. Lant, published in “The British
Numismatic Journal”, 1972
I felt right at home at Windsor, and for good reason. I had already published the
definitive article on how this inelegant, overfed sculpture was developed. For I
had resolved I would not write a book of reverence, but absolute truth, liberally
sprinkled with my own sheer wit.
And so I enquired, “Where, sir, would a likely lad like me find entrance to the
castle?” And the guard smiled, for there was no dishonor in hoodwinking a
Yankee amongst the troops of Her Majesty’s brigades.
“So Her Majesty’s waiting for you?” I could only nod in satisfaction, though
even I felt the incongruity of the moment. But I was a dogged boy, from the
great Midwest, and I was here for a purpose I intended to achieve.
I was directed to the tradesmen’s entry, not precisely what I had in mind. If
the Windsor’s know one thing and know it well, it is keeping a person
squarely where they want that person to be. Thus, within my very first
moment, my status with the Queen and her courtiers was established. Her
Majesty top, Dr. Lant bottom. Bet the long odds.
In a moment, a footman in full powder, reminiscent of the high days of the
18th Century, popped his head out and said “Are you expected, Guvnah?”
I was forced to say of course I was. Then he said “What’s your purpose?” I
should have said “To take you down a step or two, you twit!” But I was a
polite boy from the great Midwest, and manners were my forte.
He then directed me to the great tradesmen’s book, into which he bade me
write my name with a quill pen he handed me. And so I did: Dr. Jeffrey Ladd
Lant. He then gathered a candelabrum, and a giant key that was right out of
Charles Dickens. Indeed, I felt the entire experience was crafted by Dickens
himself. It had his macabre touch.
My jolly footman escorted me to the massive door of the Round Tower, and with
the giant key, the largest I had ever seen, proceeded to unlock it. I felt sure
Merlin or some other wizard of consequence was there awaiting my arrival.
The powdered flunky then retreated, locking me in the Round Tower. Oh
mama, now I wondered if I had done the right thing after all, for the room
was dark, susceptible to dangerous consequences. Even my young eyes
could hardly make out the proper outlines of the chamber and its Poe-like
staircase, cold, massive, sunk in the darkest gloom, unpredictable.
I felt just then a tiny trembling of my untested pluck, and so I ascended the
great concrete stairs, leading to the very top of the castle with weariness
and timidity. Anything might happen…
Then, just as night gives way to day, the lurking darkness of the staircase gave
way to a door opened by Miss Jane Langton. “Hello, Dr. Lant,” she said with
aplomb and practiced friendliness. “We’ve been expecting you.”
Now I am a boy of the following description: my father, Donald Marshall Lant,
used to say, “If you drop Jeffrey on his head on the outskirts of Ulan Bator, by
dinner he would have the Prime Minister eating out of his hand.” I was a Harvard
man, and this was my right.
Thus for the first time in the history of the dynasty and the castle itself, an
American, born in the U.S. of A., had come to parlay and must needs be
given the limited hospitality for which the Windsors are famous. It was a
moment as significant, as important as Henry M. Stanley greeting Dr.
Livingstone in the depths of the Congo (1871). She might have said, “Dr.
Lant, I presume?”
She immediately gave me the conditions under which I was allowed to be in such
an exalted place, and woe if I did not attend to them precisely. No mistake allowed.
I must arrive upon the striking of the 10 o’clock hour. I must take tea with the
staff. I must inform the staff whenever I have found a document of importance,
for historians were allowed in, in part, to help identify and explicate hitherto
I must leave my little room in the castle tidy to go out for lunch; skipping any
meal not permitted. And so on, through a series of minute do’s and don’t’s,
above all else, I was to remember that every piece of paper I touched, every
manuscript, every hitherto lost letter found, was the property of Her Majesty
I must also understand and acknowledge that I could only work in the Round
Tower up to three particular days each week, that I must tell them what
documents I desired to see when I left for the evening to prepare for my next
visit, and that Sir Robin Mackworth-Young would expect periodic reports,
the more eagerly awaited, because I was the Yankee Doodle boy, as unwelcome
as the voracious hordes of Asia. And I must always remember, never forget,
I was there at H.M.’s distinct invitation. None of this fazed me.
I, however, had been a judicious breaker of such rules for a lifetime, mere Brits
would not deter me now. I have my own sacred conditions, after all
Tea, whether I liked it or not
Despite the fact we were two people speaking a common language, we managed
to jog along fairly well. But there are things I did not like, including one very
important matter that I found intolerant. Miss Langton and the staff, soft-footed,
highly curious, probably sent in by the MI5 staff, were interested in me to a degree,
for after all, they had never seen an American before, much less on who could
speak the Queen’s English with a semblance of wit and insight, as indeed I could.
I often had the distinct feeling that they were closely scrutinizing me. When, for instance,
they would bring me a new box of documents, they would often come in and ask
me what I had found, as if I were a scientist in a gilded cage. Sometimes, I even
The first problem came about because they made me take tea, everyday.
Everyday, to suffer through the chit chat, which perhaps all officers exhibit when
the mammals are munching. But I let it be known that I had not come thousands
of miles to drink tea at the 11 o’clock hour, no matter how fine it was. I had a purpose,
I meant to achieve it. Of course I got no cooperation whatsoever. “You will drink tea,
and you will like it!”, a sentiment which in Boston, my city, once led to the Boston
Tea Party, and the sundering of the first Great British Empire. Alas it was a pity
they never saw the analogy.
I intensely disliked being thrown out of the castle at lunch time. I had come
thousands and thousands of miles to do the necessary research, to write up
the necessary research, to publish the necessary research, and wandering
the precincts of Windsor Castle for sixty minutes was not on my agenda.
In this case I learned to cope with crossing the little foot bridge to Eaton, where
the famous school is located. Doing so so often, I came to have a sympathetic
regard for the monument to Prince Christian Victor (1867-1900), who was killed
in the Boer War.
Making the best use as I could with what I regarded as purely
wasted time, I scoured the antique markets of Eaton and Windsor. In one particular
coup, I befriended a fellow in the hyper market who had a quantity of hand colored
historic prints of the monarchy, many relating to the Victorian monarchy. The
charge? Twenty five cents a piece. I scoffed the lot, and have them still. I was so
proud the day I saw at the royal academy a colored print identical to one I had.
It was deemed rare, and I felt smug as a Cheshire cat. Thus, even exile may have
Things jogged along equitably and calm, but a storm was gathering. It concerned
Britain’s relationship to the United States in the period of the Second World War,
before Pearl Harbor. The accusation, whether implicit or advanced explicitly, was
simply this: that the United States had only joined the war when the British, exhausted,
distressed, disabled, had already finished the hard labor, and left us to reap the rewards.
We had said we were Britain’s friend, but treated her like a shabby relation we might
move about to whatever purpose we ordered.
This charge is not without merit. Reading Winston Churchill’s letters to Franklin
Roosevelt is often painful, Churchill so often looking like the impecunious relation
who would kiss any part of Roosevelt’s anatomy, say any cringing phrase, do any
humiliating deed to get what he needs for his tatty empire to sail on, oh ship of state.
Roosevelt so enjoyed this ruleless game, for Roosevelt played with kings and thrones as
if he were playing dice. Today he wants to reestablish the Austro-Hungarian Empire,
and dandles Archduke Otto, the imperial heir on his knee, until he decides what to
do with Poland, Greece, and Czechoslovakia, and a whole string of possibilities. Roosevelt was
destiny’s darling, and Roosevelt so loved the game of musical chairs that he
played it for its own sake, and didn’t care whose feelings he may have hurt,
or whose territory he may have given to someone else. It was all a part of the
great game, and Churchill had the name, the veneration, the respect of his great
nation, but he could not play the game of guns and butter like we could.
Annoyingly, everyday during tea time, some reference was made to this gnawing proposition. It was
America who left the British to die in their own blood, hardly a finger lifted. When the land of “Hope and
Glory” was on its knees, America waited just long enough to take everything it wanted.
In short, it made the Louisiana Purchase look puny and insignificant. I was vividly aware
that I, as the first American ever to work in the Queen’s private papers, had an acute
responsibility to build a bridge, and maintain it.
But I was that Yankee Doodle Dandy, I was that Yankee Doodle Boy. And one day,
upon hearing this commentary, meant as a sneer, and acute criticism, I exploded
with rage. It was primal, it was fiery, it was from deep within my heart. I heard them
as British, I responded as an American. I stood up in the Round Tower, and reeled
off the names of the menfolk of my clan who had all gone to France, to Iwo Jima,
to Normandy, to the Rhineland; uncle Bob, uncle Dwight, uncle Roy, uncle Will,
uncle Donny, any my own father, Donald Marshall Lant. I told them every male
relation I had had gone to war in defense of England, our Allies, and a better world.
But I chose to tell them just one story in detail, and that was the story of my uncle
Will, the handsomest man in Henderson County, Illinois, the swiftest player on the gridiron.
He was blinded by mustard gas when he served in the Great War as part of the
American Expeditionary Force, “Lafayette we are here.” Everyday that he lived
without sight was part of what he did for England, for France, and for peace. And if
politicians like Roosevelt and Churchill play games, why, that is what they do best.
As for me, while I spoke in anger, in rage, in long suppressed emotion now exhumed,
there was no sound in that room, but the sound of the first American to work in
this symbol of monarchy. Perhaps my auditors were anxious, perhaps they may have
even felt threatened by my ardor and fury, but there was no response then, and
as far as I knew, no further commentary on the matter thereafter, at least in my
But I learned this: that no one, absolutely no one, will be allowed to tread on my
nation or its flag. And while we may make mistakes, terrible, bruising, pernicious
mistakes, we still constitute the best and greatest chance of the survival of mankind.
You might have thought that such an incident would have sundered any professional
role, but in fact, it cleared the air and allowed us to work together more as equals than
as the prim and proper Brits and the bumptious prairie corn fed American. But then again,
this is where our Ambassador Annenberg so assisted me. For about this time, his excellency
granted me the unrivaled boon inviting me to accompany him to any of the
great orders of chivalry or other royal pageants, including the Most Honourable
Order of the Bath, The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George,
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, the Royal Enclosure at Ascot, and
most importantly of all, the service in honor of the 25th wedding anniversary of
Her Majesty the Queen, held in St. Paul’s Cathedral. I sat literally just behind Prince
Phillip’s sister Sophie, Princess of Hanover, for all the world like a sprig of the house of Windsor.
The irony is that I descend from Hanover and Folk. What would they have thought of my proximity.
About the Author
Dr. Jeffrey Lant is known worldwide. He started in the media business when he was 5 years old, a Kindergartner in Downers Grove, Illinois, publishing his first newspaper article. Since then Dr. Lant has earned four college degrees, including the PhD from Harvard. He has taught at over 40 colleges and universities, quite possibly the first to offer satellite courses. He has written over 30 books, thousands of articles and been a welcome guest on hundreds of radio and television programs. He has founded several successful corporations and businesses including his latest at …writerssecrets.com
His memoirs “A Connoisseur’s Journey” available at: http://writerssecrets.co has garnered eight prizes that ensure its classic status. Its subtitle is “Being the artful memoirs of a man of wit, discernment, pluck, and joy.” I hope you enjoyed your read by this man of so many letters. Such a man can offer you thousands of insights into the business of becoming a successful writer. Be sure to sign up now at www.writerssecrets.com
Jeffrey Lant Associates, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. Over the years, National Poetry Month has become the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture.
-from the Academy of American Poets site also source of the photo.
What better way to celebrate then by sharing our poetry or favorite poets.
Here’s one of mine
Also check out previous post on poetry at:
Share your poetry and favorites in the comment box below.
An intimate account of the Boston Marathon bombing by the only journalist within the perimeter.
Dr. Jeffrey Lant reporting from the inside for CNN.
This is a gripping first person account from the well known author, journalist and commentator.
Dr. Lant was a resident in Cambridge as the new war was delivered to his very doorstep. His whole neighborhood was put in lock-down. Dr. Lant was the only journalist inside the lock-down perimeter. All other journalists were kept interned by police and military authorities and had no direct access to the unfolding events.
Dr. Lant was there, on the spot in a situation reminiscent of Edward R. Murrow and his famous broadcasts during the London Blitz in 1940.
This book and Dr. Lant’s unique way of telling the story bring you inside one of the tragedies of this generation.
You are there as were the over one billion worldwide (numbers provided through CNN) who through CNN were able to follow the gripping story, the insights, the drama and the murderous events.
To commemorate the third anniversary of Boston Marathon Bombing
Dr. Lant and Writers Secrets bring the story directly to you
in this book given freely to you and the world.
For other ways Writers Secrets is changing the world for the better go to www.writerssecrets.com
FREE eBook –
“Boston, April 15, 2013
Too painful to remember.
Too important to forget.”
Share and Keep the Memory Alive.
Get your FREE copy at: http://dashboard.sendreach.com/index.php/lists/yt910v65kcb35/subscribe
Div. Jeffrey Lant Associates, Inc.
All Rights Reserved