Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Is It Too Late For Me?

   The last weekend in August marked the end of another year of summer swap meets. We are lucky that in our area there is still an operational Drive-In theater that holds swap meets every Sunday during the summer. The Drive-In has been owned by the same family for many years and they plan to keep it going for many more, but developers are continually trying to force them to sell their land.
   Ever since my home construction business failed and my wife became disabled, we have become dependent on what money I can generate at the swap meet to cover those extras that we can't afford to plan into our limited budget. Every year I force myself to set aside several hundred dollars to purchase items in the spring at auctions/estate sales. My goal is to find items I feel I can sell at the swap meet for a profit.
   I have always been an avid reader, but since I could no longer afford to buy books, the library became a favorite hang-out and I started to re-read the books I already owned. Frustrated by the lack of new titles available at the library and tired of reading the same books over and over, I started writing my own stories. Quite by accident, I discovered I had some small talent for writing stories.
   After reading some of what I'd written, my children convinced me to pursue writing as a new career path and enter some contests. Being totally naïve about the writing industry, I picked up a writer's magazine from the library and found a few contests to enter. I wrote several short stories and submitted them. They were rough drafts since I knew nothing of self-editing or hiring an editor. One finished in the top ten and the other received an Honorable Mention. I dreamed that writing would become a nice source of extra income for us.
   After several years now of being in a critique group and several writer communities, I realize that it will probably be a long time before I see any of that extra income. Writing is hard for me because I have trouble focusing on the computer screen and my arthritis makes it difficult to hold a pen for very long. It seems that the only ones who make money are those who have a large number of books already published and are able to put out new stories on a regular basis.
   As I enter my sixty-fifth year on this earth, I wonder if I'll have enough time to produce enough material to generate a steady income. I do not look forward to being a door greeter at Wal-Mart. It may sound strange to some, but I would like to get to the point where I have to pay income taxes again.

   I will be sharing the second half of the final chapter in my YA fantasy this weekend for #Saturdayscenes if anyone is interested. For today I'd like to share another short scene from my fan/fic.
   Thanks for reading.

After emerging from the Tower, they had stumbled about half a league toward the River Arinelle where Thom had to stop, unable to carry Moraine any farther. As he gently laid her down next to a fallen log, she woke long enough to profess her love for him and he his love for her. Thom got a small fire started with the help of Moraine’s power as Mat, feeling like a third wheel on a two wheeled cart, wandered down to the river where he found a small pot and with his luck snared a rabbit. All that was left of the rabbit were a few small bones smoldering in the fire and the little bit of tea Thom had was running low. They must have been inside the tower longer than Mat thought since the sun was dipping behind the trees and the temperature was dropping fast. Not as cold as in the spring but summer still hadn’t caught up yet. Dark clouds had covered the sky for so long now that he could barely remember the last time he had seen the sun. The Dark One’s touch on the world was getting stronger. Mat could feel Rand pulling him north so strongly that there must not be much time left.

   “Thom,” Mat said, “we can’t stay here.”

   “I know lad, but what can we do? We are hundreds of leagues from the nearest village and that asha’man won’t be putting up a gate until tomorrow at noon. I don’t like the idea of spending the night in these woods without food or shelter either.”

   Mat stood, looking to the north. “That’s not what I meant Thom. Rand needs me and I think maybe he needs Moraine as much or more. Remember what the Eelfinn said, ‘You must give up half the light of the world to save the world’. I gave up my eye to save her Thom. Don’t you think that maybe she is the key that Rand needs to defeat the Dark One?”

   With a glance at Moraine who was still sleeping, Thom looked back at Mat. “You just might be right, but I still don’t see what we can do about it right now.”

   Mat tried to think, but the pain in his head from losing his eye was almost more than he could bear. He’d been cut up pretty bad a number of times, but nothing compared to the ache he felt where his eye should be. This was not a wound that could be sewn up and bandaged. Not that they had any of that stuff now anyway.

   At that moment Moraine stirred and opened her eyes. She’d fallen asleep as soon as she finished her bit of rabbit and a little tea. It was no wonder after what she’d gone through. It was said that the Aelfinn and Eelfinn fed off of the emotions of any human they caught in their world and they had been feeding off of Moraine’s fear and despair for a very long time. Mat didn’t think he could have survived that long with those bloody snakes and foxes and still be sane.

   “Matrim, as much as I enjoy a fire in the woods with a special gleeman and a good friend for company, we can not stay here.”

   Mat and Thom shared a look over the fire. Wasn’t it just like a bloody woman to tell a man what he already knew. Mat half expected her to give him an earful for not bringing some clothes when they came to rescue her. How were they supposed to know the Eelfinn would take her clothes? Now that she was awake and a little rested, she would probably try to take over. In Mat’s experience that’s what Aes Sedai did as easy as breathing.

   Moraine gave him one of those looks a woman has that said she knew exactly what he had been thinking and then surprised him by saying, “Matrim, I can do nothing right now to help us, so it will be up to you. Maybe we will get to see just what it means to be one of the strongest ta’veren in an age.” Ta’veren was a term from the Old Tongue for someone who pulled on the strings of the Pattern to meet his needs or was pulled by the Pattern to fill a need.

   “What!” Mat groaned. “How is being a bloody ta’veren going to help us? It certainly hasn’t done anything for me yet that I can see.”

   “I have faith in you Matrim. I’m sure if you think about it, you will find a way.”

   Think! How can a man think with so much pain and why did it feel like his eye was still there? It wasn’t like he was afraid of the One Power so maybe he should let Moraine heal him just this once. He had to be able to think didn’t he? With a sigh, Mat slowly undid the leather thong holding his foxhead medallion around his neck. With the medallion touching his flesh, any weaves of the One Power channeled at him fell apart. Standing up, Mat moved over to the other side of the fire and knelt down in front of Moraine.

   “Elayne said that a woman can still channel while wearing this,” Mat said. “As weak as you are, I want you to wear this to protect you. I think you are more important to what is coming than I am.”

   Oh this was bloody hard for him!

   Taking a deep breath, he continued, “Moraine, you are one of the few Aes Sedai I trust so I guess I could accept healing from you just this once. Not that this will become a habit mind you. I just need to be able to think without this pain if I’m supposed to figure a way out of here.”

   “Oh Matrim,” Moraine said softly. “You have given me back my life. A gift greater than any other. I cannot accept this from you. Please keep it as I think the pattern is not done with you yet.”

   Moraine slipped a hand out from underneath Thom’s gleeman cloak, exposing the milky white cleavage of her breasts. Not that Mat would look. He was a married man now and they didn’t do that kind of thing, did they? As she was reaching for his head, her eyes narrowed.


  1. Don't let your age get you down. I read an article early this year about an author, also in his sixties, who wrote short action stories. Admittedly, he was churning out a lot of them, and this was why it was mentioned online, but that doesn't mean you can't.

    Have you considered writing your book by using a voice recorder? You could give the files to someone else to transcribe, then send it off to an editor, then make the edits yourself or get someone else to do it. If they do it in Word, many distributers will take a docx file and convert it for you into an ebook. :)

  2. Roland, hang in there. I am in a similar situation as you. I was forced to take a job to pay bills which leaves little time for writing as I am so tired when I get home. I used to write when I was younger and published a few things but that seems like a lifetime ago. I have to keep going because letting go is giving up and that cause more fear that anything else.

    1. I'm with you there, David - I work 35 hours a week and am often too tired to focus on writing in the evenings after preparing a meal for the family. I make the most of weekends - the house is a tip but I think it's time for some 'me time' now so I try not to worry about that too much... :-)

  3. I want to say that it is NEVER too late, Roland. I'm nine years your junior and dabbled in writing in my late teens/twenties, then put away what I believed were 'childish things' and got on with life. Come 2007 I started writing again and haven't stopped since! I started with fan fiction, took a couple or three creative writing courses, and self-published my first small anthology last summer. I'm now close to finishing my first full-length novel and have ideas for several more, and I've also entered some scripts in a screen-writing competition. I wish i had done this years ago, but not sure I would have been ready... I went to a writing conference two years ago and the best piece of advice I heard was to 'never give up - if you want it to happen badly enough, it will'. I love writing, can't imagine not doing it, and I get the impression you do too. Focus on that, keep at it, and I am sure the rest will follow. All the best to you!