Weird waves of nostalgia.

I'm not really retired. I still have Pegasus Books, and I still need to worry about keeping it solvent. I just took a step back to do more writing. It was time to take a step back anyway, Cameron and my other employees are so much fresher, more enthusiastic behind the counter.

I'd thought I'd be more involved in the day to day, but Cameron is doing such a good job that I've been able to let go. I never was a workaholic, though I may have spent 25 years exhibiting all the symptoms. That was because it took everything I had to keep the store alive.

Once the store became self-sustaining, I was able to slack off a little, let it find its way, policies in place, and most importantly, good people minding the store.

I still felt entangled in day to day reality, though, as long as we lived in Bend. I was in a bit of rut, frankly. Moving to Redmond has uprooted my routines, made me establish new ones. It's much quieter here, and the outdoors is closer and more available and varied.

Go to the mountains in Bend and it takes 45 minutes in heavy traffic into the Deschutes National Forest to get anywhere where you might be alone. Or 15 minutes into the desert.

The feeling is night and day from my childhood in Bend. 13,000 people, almost no one when you went into the woods, turning on your brights at night and/or passing cars between Bend and Redmond. Days on the river, wandering the banks from one end of town to the other. Walking down dusty streets on the west side, skipping through empty lots into the west hills which were wild and empty.

Bend is being loved to death.

For the past several years, I've been more than satisfied being a desert rat, but now I've discovered that I'm only 45 minutes away from the Ochoco National Forest. And there is almost no one there. Huge Ponderosa pines and Douglas firs and roads leading into the hills that are alone and quiet.

At the same time, I'm back to writing fantasy. I'm back to having hours in the day where I don't need to do anything.

I'm getting these weird waves of nostalgia, remembering back to my teenage years where the days and months and years seemed endless and I'd spend entire afternoons daydreaming and reading and listening to music and just doing nothing but thinking. That weird kid in the attic reading books.

The way I'm feeling now is much closer to that young kid than to the overworked, over-stressed man who ran Pegasus Books for 25 years. (I'll leave out the "lost" decade between my teens and my thirties when I was stuck in depression and its aftermath...) With the advantage of not worrying about the future and not have strange hormonal surges.

Like I said, it's strange. Unexpected. Delightful.

Knock wood, that it will be like this for awhile. I finally feel confident enough to go ahead and delve into an epic fantasy project. Surprisingly, I feel no need to have it published. I just want to play, to daydream, to let that nostalgic warm feeling wash over me.

I've spent five years testing the publishing world. I think I have a pretty good handle on it, and I'm still open to a "career-like" approach if opportunities arise. I'm also pretty sure I don't want to bang my head on the wall trying to make it happen.

After 35 books, I feel no burning desire to prove to myself I can do it. I've made a little money, had some good reviews.

So from here on out, it's fun only.  Not that it hasn't been fun all along. But there has been the constant distraction and delays of publication versus the actual writing. I will give myself credit for writing what I want to write when I want to write it, but the writing world and the publishing world (which really is the marketing and publicizing world) can't exist in the same place at the same time. Every day I spend on the latter is a day I'm not spending on the former.

So I'll continue my opportunism, for which I've been really lucky so far.

But I'm also going to quit worrying about it.

I'm going to indulge in these weird waves of nostalgia and be grateful for it.