In a previous post, I wrote about the death of a microwave and the rediscovery of my “Treasure Chest”. I stopped writing when I got married in 1973 due to the pressures of finding a job. I stopped reading books then and didn’t start again until 25 years later when I finally learned to tune out the TV shows and concentrate on a book. (I still find this hard sometimes.)
The treasure chest contained notebooks and writing files dating from around 1966 to 1973. In an inventory page from about 1970 I found that I had written 76 stories, 29 poems and 7 one act plays. There were also two dozen notebooks with journal entries. I am frustrated with these because I did not see these as journals and rarely dated them. They are ramblings and discussions of writing, personal issues and quite a bit of philosophizing. The later is painful to read sometimes. The notebooks contain dozens of story fragments, bits and pieces of poems, and pages of mathematics where I worked out my own version of general relativity.
I had hopes of finding gems, but after reading some of the stuff, I’ve changed my mind. I was a high school student although well read and full of interesting ideas, I did not know enough to write a saleable story. I am a little less honest in my story telling now and I lie to the reader in order to develop a good line. In these stories from the 1960’s I was hopelessly involved with the concepts and was working out personal issues in them. I never stepped back and looked at the story as craft. My characters always behaved exactly as I thought that I would behave. They were entirely too much about me.
The poems, on the other hand, are much better than I remember. The plays, though, tend to monologues where the characters explain things to the audience.
I produced three “albums” in 1968 and 1969. These are 12 “song” booklets with stories and poems with a prologue and epilogue, each about 60 typewritten pages. This is based on the idea of a music album. These are, by far, the best of that time with complete short stories with real plots and the best of my poems. There is very little Spec-Fic in them. I found SF hard to write well. My usual very short, freeform plots about emotional conflicts did not lend themselves to the highly structured nature of SF stories.
The few Spec-Fic stories that I found are not that good. I found a 9K story about an Egyptian tomb written in the style of Lovecraft. It is tedious and I think I found it that way then, since I never bothered to type it. I found several fragments of SF. There were two about spiders. These both go back to a dream about finding huge spiders in a cave and the dream stems from a time when I explored the cellars below an abandoned Dog Racing Track and huge brown jumping spiders kept falling on me. One story is about a Big Game hunter bringing exotic animals back from a distant planet. The other is about mutant spiders in a subway under a nuked NY. Spiders are scary and good subject matter for a story. These were concept stories and a conflict was never worked out other than the general danger of having huge very smart spiders around. If I can think of a good plot twist, they might make it into my story list.
The strangest thing is that I as I wrote in my journals, I talked about my father. Now that he is dead and there are 35 years between the time that I wrote these things and now, they seem eerie and very scary to read. My father is a character in some of the plays and sometimes I explain in the journal entries the difference between my father and myself.
The lasting impression from perusing my old box is that I was very serious about writing. I canâ€™t believe that I just dropped such a large part of my life. The volume of words indicates that I spent a good deal of time writing. There is an empty ream box in the chest of â€œErasable Bondâ€� paper that I used for writing. I remember going to the stationery store once and deciding to spring for the whole ream because the 100 sheet packages didnâ€™t last long. I also remember buying my second ream box of paper. That means that I typed at least 300 and more pages of stuff. I made carbons copies of most things. I threw out my old typewriter this weekend. I should not have, but itâ€™s gone now.
After I married, I worked 40-50 hours a week and went to college four nights a week. I then started on my MBA at night and I taught college classes two nights a week and sometimes weekends. I kept very busy for 25 years. By the time I had more time to myself, personal computers were around and I programmed for fun until 1995. It took the World Wide Web to get me back into exposition.
Looking back at this blog, these writings are very similar to the kind of stuff in my notebooks from 1969. They are ramblings about things that concern me without any regard as to what you, gentle reader, would find interesting.
My friend, if you find these pages, I would ask for your indulgence. I donâ€™t know what I want to do with this blog. I never thought about it before. I guess that I just want to document my SF wandering thoughts. Hence the name of the blog â€“ SF Wanderings.