I have been toiling away for several months trying to write —and then re-write—a story that no one will ever read. It’s called A Dark and Stormy Night. It has no car chases, no guns firing, not even a guy threatening to punch another guy’s lights out. The characters are not bleeding and no one calls 911. At the end—everybody is not only alive but well, having funneled their way through a labyrinth of personal hazards so mundane as to elicit little more than a ho-hum from anyone I might be able to persuade to read it.
Right now, my prospects don’t look too good. I need to retype some pages—a slow process for me, and then see if I can find someone who could be persuaded to read it. A rather short novel about a woman who has cancer, a woman who has a powerful grudge against life and a man whose skills at avoiding other people’s trouble is unmatched. And oh yes, some castaway cats.
So why do I work so bloody hard to write the darn thing?
I can’t help it.
When in the process of creation, the person who was to become ME was cooked up, somebody stuck in a compulsion to tell stories. I strongly suspect that one of my ancestors was among those fellows who drew cave pictures in pre-historic France. I can guarantee that guy was muttering to himself at the time…”I wish somebody would invent WRITING…so I could tell the story of this Aurochs”.
Well somebody did invent it and people like me have been running amok with it ever since. We just can’t help it. When I was a first grader I was the only kid who could think up sentences using the spelling words.
I confess I filched the title for my latest adventure story“ A Dark and Stormy Night, from the British writer, Bulwer-Lytton. Yes, I know, that phrase has been used and abused by generations of writers, but the reason we do this is because he hit on a few words that describe where most of us are standing. And yes, it’s quite legal to borrow the title!
Let me know if there is a compulsive READER out there who would care to see my work. I’ll take it up with my editor.