No, seriously, I don't believe in omens. I don't.
But . . . .
Halloween Bingo is but ten days away, and the moon is in the process of blotting out the sun as I write this, and August is a month of momentous events in my life (even though I was born in October). Ever notice that "omen" is at the heart of "momentous"?
One Sunday morning in August of 1963, I hopped on my bike and rode the few blocks to the nearby shopping center, where I bought an inexpensive spiral notebook with a blue cover. Pencil in hand, I sat down on the front porch and began writing a diary.
Sunday, August 11, 1963 (Morning entry)
I kept at it, though I didn't write every day and sometimes skipped even weeks or months. At one point my life was so chaotic that I went for a couple of years without writing. But the journals were always there, in a growing succession of spiral notebooks.
Several years ago, I started the laborious process of transcribing them. In some the graphite from my pencils had smeared and become faint; in others the actual ink -- because I have always loved fountain pens -- was fading. I've always had decent handwriting, so there was no problem deciphering what I had written, but the sheer mass of words was daunting.
Because I continued to journal, the notebooks continued to pile up. And some of the notebooks were thicker than others, with several whole sections of 50 or 100 pages.
At one point around 2014 or so, I was actually caught up. Then I made the mistake of letting the transcription slide, but not the writing. When I realized a few months ago that the project was getting away from me again, I picked up where I had left off with Volume 25; before I had finished transcribing that one, I had already begun making entries in Volume 28.
This past week-end, I put the completion of Volume 25 at the top of my priorities, and I came very close. This morning I have but eight and a half pages to enter and I can file that notebook away. . . and start on Volume 26. Of course, I've already added a page and a half to Volume 28 today!
It's both amusing and frightening to go back and read my thoughts from 1963; I was silly, of course, at the age of not-quite-fifteen, but I was also me. Much has changed; much has not. (Part of that first Sunday morning entry concerned the boyfriend of the time, and he still is.)
But that summer of 1963 I was also writing a book, a novel of sorts, my first adult novel after early teen years of outrageous horse stories modeled on Walter Farley's Black Stallion series and other . . . stuff. This new novel was dark, very dark, with a gruesome unsolved murder, a wealthy young man who lived in a fabulous but empty house, a young woman with a tragic past, and a small town that never forgot nor forgave.
That's a more dramatic and better written description than I would have given it then, or the following summer when I finally finished it, but that is the outline of the story. As a sophomore in high school, I banged it out on an ancient Remington typewriter in spare moments, single-spaced because I couldn't afford to waste paper. And I wasn't the world's best typist either, so the original pages are littered with corrections and changes.
Yes, dear reader, I still have the original manuscript. Or most of it, anyway. A few pages are missing, though I'm not sure which ones or how many. It ran to something around 125,000 words, I think. Not bad for a fifteen-year-old.
Not a bad accomplishment, but as a novel it's not very good.
However. . . it's August.
And the moon is blotting out the sun.
And there are elements of that first novel, as bad as it was, that are stirring in my brain right now -- I originally typed that as "writing now" -- as the spirits of Halloween Bingo also rise.
For the title of the book was A Party of Ghosts.
But I don't believe in omens. Not really.