I'm starting to understand what Walt Coburn meant about not being able to make a hand. Those of you who are very familiar with Coburn's life and career probably know what I'm talking about. The note he left behind when he committed suicide in 1971 read in part:
May God forgive me
I can't make a hand anymore.
I've written my last story.
I leave the world with no regrets.
Now, I'm not planning on crossing the divide anytime soon, so don't worry. But I'm mired in the worst writing slump I can remember, and I really can't afford it right now and it's incredibly frustrating. So I'm going to fall back on the old trick of posting my daily pages, in the hope that will spur me to greater production.
So, today's big total . . . 4. That was about 800 words, and I felt like I sweated a drop of blood for every damned one of them. Yes, I know I'm being overly dramatic. It sort of goes with the territory, now and then.
By the way, to make a hand is to be a good working cowboy (or whatever the job is). Coburn took his life because, after years of drinking heavily and markets changing without him being able to adjust to them, he wasn't able to write and sell books anymore. I'm still selling, in fact I have plenty of work lined up, I just can't get the blasted words to come out. But I will, one way or another.
THRILLING WESTERN October 1953
1 hour ago