I have always needed to create. Our father took scrap paper home from work, with dittoed or mimeographed stuff on one side, and we drew and wrote on the blank side. Comic books, songs, maps of imaginary countries — when I had a blank in front of me, I felt I had to fill it with something.
And so it is with these journals. Even if it’s silly or incoherent nonsense, I feel better if I’ve filled a page or three, and oh how sweet when I can’t stop and suddenly am well down the road to 10 or more pages.
I have a legal pad next to me this morning, hoping to scribble a map of the remaining chapters of my novel in progress, or the rest of my novelette/novella, or two of the other novels I’ve stalled on.
But I have cat food and dog foods and stamps to buy, and newspaper stories and photos to develop — bills to pay, places to go — and there’s a windstorm blowing snow around outside.
By the time I am 80, or when I am finished, whichever comes first, I want to have told the story I envision that takes Jeep Thompson and her friends over six novels; it would be nice to extend her friends’ stories into their own series; and finish some of those other unfinished novels and write the novel that’s only a concept today; and preserve as many of the books that Roger Mifflin loved as I can; and tell more of Myke Phoenix’s adventures — they’d have to be novellas or novels, because otherwise the title of the “Complete Novelettes” book would become a lie.
I have all these pretty stories to tell, and maybe I can release them if I do it just for the halibut — forget those dreams about someday paying the bills with the proceeds from my stories, just telling the stories for the fun of it, and if the stories pay the bills, that’s nice, but if the bills get paid by making newspapers and selling my mountains of old stuff, that’s nice too.
Dark worries come next — If I can’t remember what Red told me a minute ago or asked me to do five minutes ago, how can I piece together stories and books anyway? — but those worries are the enemy, nipping at my heels. Who is this enemy? Not the fading of my head, but fear of the fading. I stand (figuratively) and put fear behind me.
I will tell the stories and pay the bills and all the rest, even though first I must feed the cat and dogs and find the calm in the storm. The wind chimes by my window defy the storm with music, and so shall I.