It is Heinlein’s birthday. It is also coincidentally my oldest son’s birthday. It is one of those things that makes me believe I’m living in a novel, as it connects me simultaneously to the past and the future. The man who molded my thought, and the man I helped mold (a little bit. It will shock all of you that he’s a stubborn cuss, right?) both sharing the same name and born on the same date. (Though our Robert started the being born thing on the fourth of July, he hung fire till the seventh early morning. Go figure. And yeah, I loved the three days hard labor. Not.)
Lately I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what it means to be a writer, and to what a writer hopes to leave behind. There are reasons for this, and yes, my entire family, collectively, has yelled me into going to the doctor. I’ve been putting it off because it’s probably nothing, and I don’t want to give trouble, but at the same time, there are worrying symptoms, and at any rate I’m 55 which means I’m closer to the end than the beginning. There’s also the fact that 27 years ago today I almost died. (They gave Dan 10% of chances both Robert and I would survive. They said more than likely he’d lose one of us. I’m very glad he didn’t. I love my family.) Also, 21 years and six months ago the doctors all said I wouldn’t live more than a few days (pervasive pneumonia. 11 days in ICU) and I prayed very earnestly to be allowed to live to raise my boys. Which I admittedly have. And write my books. Which I sort of have. So, hence the morbid thoughts.
Anyway, any writer who is a working writer leaves a lot of crap behind. And sometimes it is not what HE/SHE identifies as crap. I mean Austen’s favorite book was Emma, a book I can barely get through because of the desire to reach through the book and strangle the eponymous twit.
So we’re not usually the best judges of our work, though I confess to giggling like a little girl while listening to number of the beast and hearing him refer to Stranger as “what some writers do for money.”
I have three of those, truth be told. Not that they made me anymore than a slightly upgraded advance. (Hint: I haven’t reissued them yet.)
His books that I love: The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress; Citizen of the Galaxy; Puppet Masters. All the others too, but after those. And btw, yeah, Puppet Masters was a rushed thing, for money.
I hope but don’t believe my work will be similarly worthy of praise thirty years after my death.
Happy birthday RAH (both of them) and thank you (both of them) for inspiration and encouragement to do my best.