This Is My 200th Story! Will It Be My Last?

Image by Karma Willow Designs

It’s amazing! They said it couldn’t be done! I’m going to throw a party to which you all will be invited. I’m going to hire a sky-writing plane to fly over Manhattan and cover the heavens with this announcement: Neil Scheinin, a grand slacker, somehow has written 200 stories for his blog. A miracle has occurred!

And after all of that I might just hang up my writing boots forever. Why? Because writing mentally exhausts me. I mean, after I finish a piece I’m so limp you’d have no trouble folding me up and squeezing me into a goldfish bowl. I’ve gone through this 200 times now. Maybe that’s enough.

And if it is enough, that wouldn’t be so bad. With writing no longer on the menu, I’d devote the extra time on my hands to my living room sofa, where I’m already spending an average of 10 hours a day. The sofa is where I do my best kind of work anyway, you know. By which I mean that I am a master at twirling the handful of hairs remaining on the crown of my head while stuffing my maw with boxfuls of Cheez-It crackers. I love my sofa. My gratitude for having the comfiest place in the world to rest my ancient ass is eternal.

To write or not to write, that is the question. Making the decision isn’t easy. Which is why I’ve recently sought guidance from three individuals. The first conversation took place a week ago. It was with my esteemed editor, Edgar Reewright.

“Neil, the exorbitant fees that you pay me for my services are crucial to my financial stability,” Edgar screamed over the phone after I laid out my thoughts. “Do you hear me? Crucial, I say. My stable of writers has been shrinking like a Greenland glacier. Without you on board I don’t know what I’d do! Oh, why was I born? Why was I born? I should have listened to my parents and majored in philosophy in college. If I had, then I’d know the answer to ‘why was I born?’ Shit, maybe it’s not too late. Where are those volumes of the collected works of Plato and Aristotle that I occasionally glanced at years ago? Ah, I remember. They’re under my dog’s mattress, firming it up. Spot! Spot! Get off your bed! Daddy needs to get something.”

“Later, Edgar,” I said. “I’ll be in touch.”

Edgar’s situation is no joke. Though not many people depend on me, he definitely does. Conversely, my psychiatrist, Dr. R. U. Forereel, is someone upon whom many people depend. Including me. The day after I spoke with Edgar I attended my bi-weekly session with Dr. Forereel.

“Doctor,” I said to her after seating myself in her patients’ chair, “I know that we normally discuss issues that have their roots in my misspent childhood, such as why in my 71 years of existence I’ve never once bonded with a cat. If I weren’t so sphinxlike, maybe by now we’d have uncovered an answer or two to that one. My bad! But today I need your opinions about my creative outlet. I’ve been writing steadily for almost four years, as you know. My next story will be my 200th, a true milestone. But I’m weary, doctor. Writing has taken its toll on me. I’m thinking of ending my career.”

Career?” Dr. Forereel immediately exclaimed. “What career? Neil, the essays and other pieces that you produce are trifles, no? And you receive how much in payment for them? Wait, let me guess. The answer begins with a z and ends with an o and has an e and an r in the middle. Am I right? Neil, what you do with words amounts to nothing more than a hobby, a way to pass the time. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but it’s important to look at things realistically. I have no couch in my office for my patients, only a chair. But you, Neil, have a wonderful couch at home, as you’ve told me many times over the years. Take further advantage of that sofa. It’s one of your very best friends. Writing means little in comparison to the peace of mind that your sofa brings.”

At the end of the session I thanked the good doctor and then went to my car. Her advice echoed through my mind continuously during the drive back home.

Later that day I poured out my heart to my wife Sandy. Edgar Reewright had implored me to continue writing. Dr. Forereel had said, basically, “why bother?” What were Sandy’s feelings?

“Listen,” she began, “it’s entirely up to you. But I’ll say this: At least you’re not getting Cheez-It crumbs all over the couch when you’re at your writing desk. So that’s a good reason, in my opinion, for you to keep turning out your stories. However, there are how many projects around the house that you’ve never gotten to? Twenty? Thirty? Seems to me that starting a blog might be what you came up with to avoid doing what needs to be done around here.”

Valued readers, I’m in a quandary. I’m going to have to look deep within myself over the next several days. There’s plenty for me to ponder. Maybe I’ll be back on these pages. Maybe I won’t. Time, as always, will tell.

(Yo! Despite the uncertainties presented above, please don’t be shy about adding your comments or about sharing this story. Mucho gracias.)

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141 thoughts on “This Is My 200th Story! Will It Be My Last?

  1. Isabelle February 12, 2019 / 3:44 pm

    In this particular case, I’m on the editor’s side, Neil. Cheez-it crackers will always taste good no matter they are enjoyed on the couch or at the writing desk, I think. Please continue to share your creativity and good sense of humour with your audience, me included. Catch up soon, Isabelle

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cindy February 12, 2019 / 9:54 pm

    Kudos on reaching #200! That’s a remarkable achievement. I don’t know how you do it, but I’m glad you’re keepin’ on!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. cincinnatibabyhead February 13, 2019 / 2:56 am

    You cannot bullshit a bullshitter. You can try. See ya next week fella. I can’t get that image of you lying on the couch woofing down Cheez – Its, out of my mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 13, 2019 / 8:31 am

      Yeah, I never seem to get tired of Cheez-Its, though I don’t eat anywhere near as many as I did when I was younger. Have a great rest of the week!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. johnlmalone February 13, 2019 / 4:00 pm

    an amusing piece presenting three different perspectives on being a writer and they all are true but we do it anyway; why? because it’s like breathing and eating — for us it’s natural and we get a kick out of it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 13, 2019 / 8:08 pm

      “for us it’s natural and we get a kick out of it” —

      You’re exactly right!

      Like

  5. alhenry February 13, 2019 / 6:05 pm

    Aw, you old showboater, you could no more stop writing than TheRUMP can stop being a nefarious douchebag. The difference is your many fans dwarf his inaugural crowd and you’re a genuine mensch (a word the OrangeOne couldn’t even spell). But we writers have a need to be read, to speak out, to entertain and perhaps even add something of note to the cultural dialogue (although we prefer to do it from the cozy privacy and comfort of our sofa rather than the public frenzy of a red carpet event, as actors do.) As for Cheez-its? Every writer knows they are the nutritional staple of the creative life. Right up there with Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and beer! Until your next post…

    Liked by 2 people

  6. America On Coffee February 13, 2019 / 11:24 pm

    Couches are amazing cushions, many people mistake them as beds and began dreaming..Your wrtings are so journeying and fun. Congrats Neil on your 200th story. Real or unreal, psychs know the power of the couch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 14, 2019 / 7:28 am

      Hi, and thank you for stopping by. Yeah, I’m sifting through some story ideas. When one of them seems right to me, I’ll get to work.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. draliman February 14, 2019 / 2:55 am

    I do my writing from my living room sofa so I manage to combine both writing and lounging!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. tanjabrittonwriter February 14, 2019 / 2:15 pm

    Even though the couch would, no doubt, love to keep you in its embrace, and the makers of Cheez-Its would be in favor of more couch time, too, the blogosphere would be impoverished without your cherished presence and contributions, Neil! Just saying!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Annika Perry February 15, 2019 / 2:44 am

    Neil, even as you’re in a quandary you have me in stitches! 😀 Between the pull of the couch and cheez-its (they look so tempting I want some now) and the house projects I do hope you manage to squeeze in time for blogging & your stories! Wow! Two hundred is a huge milestone … here’s to the next 200!!

    Btw. I’ve ordered The Journal of the Plague Years from the library and look forward to reading it soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 15, 2019 / 8:25 am

      Hi Annika. Plague Years is written in a straightforward and clinical way. To me, its tone was powerful. I’ll be interested to find out what you thought of the book. See you!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. jeanleesworld February 15, 2019 / 6:33 am

    Why not write while on your couch with a bowl of Cheezits? My favorite place to write in the house is the recliner. 🙂 Win-win!

    Liked by 1 person

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