I read quite a lot, mostly novels, which is what I most love to write. So when the thought came that of all the books I’ve read, even masterpieces and others that exhibit wit, style, plotting, wisdom or whatever I admire and may consider beyond my ability, I have never thought anything like: I wish I had written that novel.
Not that I’m immune to envy. Not hardly. The reason I don’t wish I had written those books is that they are not my stories. This may be nothing profound, only a psychological quirk, a symptom of narcissism or whatever mental illness I have, but it feels as if certain stories are mine and others simply aren’t.
Other creations, such as songs, inventions, even phrases, I often wish for one reason or another were mine. Stories, nope.
No doubt all of us who admit to being writers have been told countless times something like, “Boy, do I have a story for you.” I wonder how many of those offers have ever been acted upon.
A common response to the question “Where do you get your stories?” is: out of the newspaper. So apparently this feeling of mine isn’t universal.
Since I get older almost every day, and sometimes life wearies me, and I wonder if I’ll ever truly retire from this vocation, which at times feels hard and draining; whenever the question arises if I might survive long enough to retire, I conclude, sure, I can retire after I finish the stories currently residing at one depth or another in my mind. Right now, the count of novel length stories is eight.
Back to work.