One of the stories I tell myself in remembering the history of Pegasus Books is that moment in the early nineties when we were in real trouble. I used to walk by the same corner near my store every morning and think, "if anything bad happens today, we're done." And every day we squeaked by.

I'm pretty sure that 9 out of 10 people would have quit. And it would have probably been a smart decision, at least on the surface.

But I had the deep conviction that I had learned my lessons, that if I didn't have ton of debt hanging over me that I could make the store work.

I was watching a program on PBS about small business at the time. I have two stories about that: the first is an episode where a young man was narrating his thoughts about his business while out fishing on a pond, and the thoughts in his head were exactly what I was thinking: and he had just gone bankrupt. It scared me.

That was the moment I went back to the store and instead of trying to compete with my cut-throat (and self-destructing competitors) I raised my prices to retail and let much of my clientele walk away. But at that moment we stopped bleeding money.

The other episode that had an impact on my thinking was an old gambler cleaning his swimming pool who had made a success of it (not my favorite example in that I think gambling is problematic) but his point was that of all his friends who'd started when he did, all of them had quit and gone on to other things.

But his thinking was; he'd gotten the hard part out of the way, that he'd learned his lessons, and just when it looked like he should quit was the moment he should go forward.

Anyway, to my present occupation: I feel I'm at the same point in my writing. At a moment when there seems to be obstacles, it's probably actually the moment when the hard work has been done and now's the time to move forward.

I recognize the same situation intellectually, but I'm in a different place emotionally. I was in my 40's back then, and it took another decade before the store really got to a profitable place. But I was willing to pay the price back then.

Now I'm 65, and I'm not sure I want to spend a decade trying to just get established. I love writing, and I see the struggle (and it's a worthy struggle and there is nothing wrong with it--in fact, it's probably what needs to happen) but I don't NEED to do that. I'm in a good place in my life, and I really like writing, and as I said earlier, publishing is totally confounding.

The biggest reason I survived in Pegasus Books was because I felt like I NEEDED to survive no matter what, that if I'd have had to work at Walmart my soul would have been crushed, that I was an odd duck that didn't fit in anywhere and couldn't really work with others and especially under bosses I didn't believe in.

I'm a self-directed person, and it frustrates the hell out of me to wait on others to get anything done.

What's wonderful about the current writing world is... you don't have to! You can do your thing. Sure, the difference in how many people read you is enormous, and there is a prestige gap, but neither of those things really have much to do with the actual writing.

So consciously, I think I'm willing to make the opposite choice I made back in the 90's. Not to quit, exactly, but not to struggle.

Just do my thing.