I started my journal as a way of keeping up with the work I was doing toward advancing my writing goals. I used it as a motivator and it worked wonderfully at a time when I needed the kick in the pants.
As I mentioned last post, however, I began, over time, to add more information into the journal about personal things and the events of my life. Recently, I went back and reread my journal entries from 1993 through 2011. (I don’t have the strength yet for 2012). I found some things that were interesting to me, and perhaps only to me. But I’ll share them here anyway. J
First, I learned that you almost never get good news without corresponding bad news. There has almost never been a time when I got really good writing news without it corresponding closely with really bad news. For example, when I got my first payment and first copies for my first book, Cold in the Light, my first wife was in the hospital. She was also in the hospital on the day I found out I was nominated for the Rhysling Award. On the evening before I was to have my first signing for Cold in the Light, my Mom had to be taken to the emergency room. She as in the operating room getting a pacemaker put in at the time I was supposed to be signing. Needless to say, I didn’t make it to the signing. There are dozens of other examples I could give, but that would probably sound like whining and I’m sure most everyone has the same kind of experiences. I imagine, though, that this is the main reason why, today, I never experience any surge of pleasure over an acceptance or publication. I do, however, get a surge of pleasure when people read and enjoy one of my stories or books.
Second, I learned that my appetite for spending long hours working on projects was rather prodigious when I was younger. I’ve put in a lot of 8 to 10 hour days at Xavier doing school work, and then put in another few hours writing after I got home. I’m rather proud of myself for that. My brothers used to regularly call me lazy when we were growing up. I think I’ve proved them wrong. Although, these days I sure do want to be lazy, and physically I’m just not capable of those long hours anymore.
Third, I’ve learned that walks through nature are essential for my sanity. I do a lot of thinking while I’m walking, and a lot of planning for stories. But I need to be away from people and among the trees when I do so. I’m sure this is a legacy of having grown up on a farm and spending long, long hours hiking through the woods and across the fields while I imagined the most fantastic scenarios in my head.
Fourth, I’ve rediscovered how precious my son Josh, and my wife Lana, are to me. There are plenty of other people in the world I care about, but those two are the reason why I keep going.