I have arrived at the closing pages of another journal — the words you are now reading were first set down on Page 238 of a 240-page book. It is March 25, and I filled in Page 1 on the morning of Oct. 15, so this particular journal (my 17th, if you’re counting) covers five months and 10 days or so of the completion of my 69th year and the early moments of my 70th.
What have I learned in these five-plus months?
I have felt the power of inertia. Despite dabbling with work on at least a half-dozen books — writing and publishing being my main interest for my upcoming “retirement” years — I published no books during the course of this journal. My only consolation is that I did send a book to the publisher a few days ago — an edition of The Demi-Gods by James Stephens, the fifth installment of my Roger Mifflin Collection series and a very nice book indeed, if I say so myself. I’ve instructed the minions of cyberspace to release the paperback on April 19, and so I’ve overcome inertia on that project, at least. We’ll see if it’s the start of a new momentum or an aberration, but I do have my metaphorical foot poised over the metaphorical accelerator pedal in anticipation.
It occurs to me that my relative inaction on my retirement plan is a symptom that I don’t really want to retire from my day job. And there’s some truth to that. I immensely like the people I work with, and it’s a small enough operation that I know, without blowing my own horn, that my absence will probably be felt when I do pull the plug.
It may also be a symptom that I’m unable to face the reality that a day is coming when I can no longer handle the rigors of a day job, either physically like so many other near-septuagenarians or mentally like so many well-known politicians in their seventies and eighties, whose names I choose not to reference in this space.
But I probably must conclude that my lack of consistent action on my books is simply another symptom of a lifelong battle with inertia. I have had big ideas for decades — I even mapped out a plan to become a full-time writer by Jan. 1, 1990 — but instead I have floated along content with the quotidian all these years. Even now, with my big ideas consigned to a retirement plan, I can let five months go by without significant progress.
That is, however, water under the bridge, and as I scratch out the final lines of Page 239 and prepare to turn to the last page, I would like to look toward the time that’s left rather than what has passed.
Of course, as I did turn the page, what did I do before pressing pen to paper? I paged backwards through the first 239 pages. I did remember that I did publish one book in these five months — a traditional-paperback-sized little edition of my most critically successful Myke Phoenix novelette, Song of the Serial Kisser, which was featured on Wattpad a few years ago. I forgot about that 52-page volume, and you never heard of it, because I never bothered to tell anyone about it. I have mixed feelings about how it turned out, but I did publish it, so there’s a smidgen more progress than I admitted a few minutes ago.
So, this concludes my 17th journal. Will #18 brim with new ideas and celebrations of accomplishments, or more dreary recriminations not unlike this one? That’s up to me, isn’t it?Let’s see if I can make this an actual turning point, not a turning point that I announce with grand flourishes and then fail to turn. (Oh my, what a dreary recrimination! Are you bored yet? I kinda am.)
How about this: I’ll take these last two inches of space to thank the muses and the discipline that helped me fill 240 more pages with my blather, hopes and dreams, along with perhaps a handful of insights with sharing that helped or at least amused someone out there. And thank God I am alive and well enough to complete a journal, and to ask God and thank Him for everything that comes next.