Archive for January, 2015


Don’t Wait, Write When You Can

Recently, I was asked by a young woman why I waited so long to begin writing, to which I replied, I didn’t wait.

I’ve always written.  When I was a small child, I wrote little stories – mostly based on fairy tales I’d read – and poems.  When I was a teen, I wrote, usually as an assignment from my English teacher, but sometimes because I just wanted to.  Also, as a lot of teens did (perhaps still do), I kept a diary from time to time.

Then, I fell in love and began marriage and motherhood when I was eighteen.  Not a good choice on my part, but, at the time, nobody could tell me it wasn’t.  Ten years and three children later, I was divorced.

In between taking care of my kids, my household, and sometimes working two jobs but always at least one, and all the overtime I could get (not to mention going to school at the community college!), there wasn’t much time for writing though I would often get ideas for a story and scribble them down on whatever was handy.  Then I’d put them in a drawer and somehow, over the years, I never got time to finish any.

Then, six years ago, I retired (yayyy!) and three years ago I found one of the few stories on which I’d actually managed to get several thousand words written.  I had transcribed it into Word, and saved and moved it every time I got a new computer.

Gone were the days I ran from one job to another, or stayed late at my fulltime one and dragged home so tired I’d fall asleep in the shower, or try to read a book only to wake up with it on my face (though I still managed to get in some reading – couldn’t have made it without that!).

As I read over that unfinished story, it occurred to me that I now had time to write, and a strange thing began to happen.  It started to seem as if the characters were speaking to me, telling me the story, urging me to write it down.  So, I did, and before I knew it, I found I’d written the first book in my Boucher’s World series, which now consists of a trilogy, a full-length, stand-alone novel, two novellas, two novelettes, and a short story.

I had written enough material for several stories in that particular universe, and even now, those characters call out to me, though I now have another series (the Juri Turner Spaceships and Magic series ) for which I’ve published book one and am halfway through book two, pulling at me for my attention.  I’ve written other stories (the Cady and Sam werewolf stories) with more to come.

I did wait to publish but that was mainly because I wasn’t writing to publish.  I was writing because I couldn’t not write (yeah, I know that ain’t grammatically correct as auto-correct just pointed out to me, but it’s true, so shut up, auto-correct!), but after a while I did sort of want someone other than family and friends to read my stories so as soon as I discovered I could publish as an independent author, and for practically nothing, I did (I’m now into that fixed-income thing, sooo…practically nothing, or free, is good).

The point is, and I repeat: I did not wait to write.  I guess you could say I kind of dodged between the raindrops and skated around potholes and wrote when I could.

If you want to write, if you have to write, then do it.  Any way you can.

And I hope to write until I’m dead.  And even afterward if I can swing it.

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And God said, “Let there be light!”

And Mrs. God said, “Wait!  Not yet!”

But it was too late.  The whole thing started glowing, shooting out beams in every direction.  It began bulging, and suddenly, the infinitesimal point ruptured, exploding with a big bang.

Mrs. God looked over at Her impulsive Husband with disgust.  “Now why did you do that?  I was trying to tell you to wait! It’s too soon, it wasn’t quite ready.”  She gazed at the nascent little universe expanding in front of Them.  She shook Her head and sighed heavily.  “It’s going to have a tough time after such a premature start.”

God stared down at what He had wrought, thinking.  He drummed his fingers against His leg.  He was thinking very hard.  His Wife was right – as usual.

Finally, He said, “Well, I guess I have two choices here: I can either wipe it out and start over, or let it ride, see what happens.”  He glanced at His Wife sideways, trying to judge from Her expression which way She might want Him to go with this.

Admittedly, He had jumped the gun on this one.  He hadn’t meant to, it’s just that He’d been a bit distracted, and hadn’t been paying attention to the time.

He wasn’t getting anything from His Wife’s noncommittal face, so He turned back to look at the little growing universe, which by now had spread even further and had coalesced all sorts of galaxies with stars and planets, and was in the process of trying to fill itself up.  Which wasn’t happening because it kept spreading out in all directions, leaving more space in its wake.

Mrs. God was looking at the thing closely, when She noticed something.

“Isn’t something moving on one of those planets it’s formed in the middle?”

“Where?”

“There.  See the big star in the middle?  It’s got four planets, three big ones, and that one little one.  There’s something moving on the little one.”  She pointed it out to him.  “See?”

He peered at the planet and saw that She was right.  There was something moving there.

“Well, darned if You aren’t right again!  That’s definitely a living creature!” He sighed with frustration.  That shouldn’t have happened, yet.

The tiny universe was taking on a life of its own.  He looked out over His creation, taking in the stars and worlds that had formed and were still forming, noting how many had developed life.

After a few minutes, He noticed that one little yellow star that had arisen out near the edge of its galaxy, had accumulated eight or nine planets.  God looked closely at the third one out from the star, and saw it had spawned some familiar looking creatures.

With exasperation, He saw all manner of dinosaurs, some small, some large.

Tsk.  Dinosaurs never made anything of themselves.  He watched them for a while but soon began to lose interest.  As He’d thought they would, they just went around eating, sleeping, and procreating.  It was the only thing these types were ever interested in doing.

“What’s going on with that world, Dear?” asked Mrs. God, curious as to why Her Husband was staring so.

“Nothing much,” He sighed, with a shrug.  “Doesn’t look as if anything of interest will ever happen there.  It’s one of those worlds that will just spin until its star burns out in a few billion years.”

“Hmm,” said Mrs. God.

She knew He’d originally had great plans for this universe, and was disappointed that it had been birthed too soon.  She hated to see him so out of sorts, so She thought about it for a moment, and then got an idea.

She carefully scrutinized the miniscule planet, and saw something else there: some very small creatures that stole the eggs of the larger ones whenever they got the chance.  These little guys were different but they were never going to get anywhere with all those lumbering titans around.  At least not the way things were going for them now.

When God wasn’t looking, She stretched forth Her hand and flicked some space debris toward the planet where it hit with a crunch.  She smiled to Herself and sat back to see what Her Husband would do.

“What happened?” asked God when he turned back to look and saw the puffs of smoke on the little planet.  He studied it for a moment then realized something had rammed into it.

“Oh, looks like some meteors have taken out the dinosaurs.  Well, no loss.  They weren’t doing much of anything anyway.”  He shrugged, and turned to leave.

“Wait!” exclaimed Mrs. God, annoyed He was merely going to turn away. “Look.  Another creature has risen up, something different.  Aren’t You Interested in seeing what they’ll do?  They seem to be at least a little swifter in the mind than the dinosaurs; interested in a bit more than just the basics.”

He stared at the new creatures for a few seconds, debating with Himself on whether to just get it over with, finish the whole thing off right now and start over.

Mrs. God could see Him trying to make up His mind.  “Well, what are you going to do?”

He thought for another second, contemplating these new beings.  He looked around the little universe, shrugged and reached out to begin wiping the slate clean, but then, He saw one look up.  That was new, and it made Him smile, so He made his decision:  “I’ll just let it ride”.

End

Reflections

Well, a new year is here, and as I do every year at this time, I tend to get a little introspective.  I suppose everyone looks back over the past year remembering the good, the not-so-good, the neutral, making excuses for reneging on those resolutions made the year before, and goals met or unmet.  And I suppose that’s normal.

Among other things, I’ve been reflecting on my health.  One thing that has made me do this is the fact that on December eighteenth, my two-years-older-than-me brother died.  Yeah.  He was sixty-nine years old, and he died suddenly of a massive heart attack.  He’s already terribly missed.  This worked to put a real damper on the holidays.

Still, while it was a shock, I guess it shouldn’t have been totally unexpected since he was on blood thinners, which I understand he sometimes missed taking.  But, that’s life.  We are here for a while, then one day something comes along and takes us out.  It’s the natural order of things.

Makes me think, though.  My mother lived to be eighty-six before she died of liver cancer.  I had another brother to die in two thousand and two at the age of fifty-nine, of colon cancer, and after thinking about it, I realized a lot of my relatives die of either some sort of cancer, or of heart disease.  Another thing that’s making me think about health is that I managed to get the flu in spite of having gotten the shot back in October, so have been feeling pretty rotten.  Just points out that, sometimes, even when you do the right thing, it doesn’t work out.

So.  I had my first colonoscopy at the age of fifty, and because they always find polyps, and because my brother died of colon cancer, I have to get one every five years.  I am also a diabetic, which so far I’ve been able to control with diet and exercise, and I have high cholesterol, my blood pressure is creeping up, and lately I’ve been plagued with a “frozen shoulder” – which may not be fatal but is surely painful, especially the exercises my therapist has me doing, and let us not forget my shingles that keep recurring.  My eye doctor tells me I have cataracts – nothing has to be done about it, yet – and dry eye, for which I have drops.

I guess I have a lot of the creaks and complaints that come with aging, including the fact that my knees and fingers sometimes don’t work that well due to arthritis.  All things that indicate that I’m into the slide everyone does when going downhill.

Now, mostly, I can’t complain.  I have a lot to be thankful for.  Other than the aforementioned troubles, I’m otherwise healthy,  I have health insurance, a house in which to live, a car to drive (yeah, it’s ten years old but it runs!), clothes to wear, food to eat, and best of all, I have a family who loves me.  I just take whatever pill I need to take, or do the assigned exercises and try to eat as right as I can.

After all, nobody lives forever and this is a thought that doesn’t bother me.  It’s the way things are, and anyway, what would happen if the old didn’t move out the way for new people?  Think about the mess that would make.

But what all this says to me is that I need to type faster.  I have Word 2010 and a whole lot of stories still in my head. I want to get as many of them written down as I can before I go.

 

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