November 22, 2002
I’m running a photo of the Renegades ( a loose knit group of my history nut friends) in front of the Condon Bank in Coffeyville, Kansas in the next issue. I wanted to put the exact date of the photo and fortunately, I have a very useful tool. Since 1994 I have used a Franklin Daytimer and I keep a morgue of every year since then. I knew the photo was taken sometime in 1998 so I grabbed the binder on my lunch hour and started flipping pages. In addition to finding the actual date (August 30, 1998 at 9 a.m. and I bought four postcards for $1 at the Defender Museum), I also found the exact date when I began to think seriously about buying True West.
I had a booksigning in Tombstone and Bob McCubbin drove over from El Paso to hang out with me. After the signing and dinner, Bob told me he was retiring and wanted to invest in something. He offered to perhaps help me print my books. I immediately said, “Let’s buy True West and make it work.” The date was May 25, 1998. Later that summer, the first opportunity to buy the magazine came up, but Bob backed off and said he was never serious about it. A year later, all that changed and here we are.
The other book that changed my life is “The Artist’s Way.” In it the author tells about how she would wake up and have coffee and think to herself, “I don’t feel like writing.” So she wrote that down. When she wanted to complain about the cold in her studio, she wrote that down. Whatever she was feeling, she put it in her journal, until it became a habit and words flowed easily. The moral being, “Write every day, without hope, without despair.”
So I customized my Franklin Daytimer to have that component. I get up at six, drink coffee with Kathy, solve life, come out to the studio and turn on the computer, light a fire in my stove, walk out to the end of the driveway and pick up the paper (The Arizona Republic), and thank Robert Urich (the actor was born on the same day as me, December 19, 1946, and he died earlier this year, so every day I thank him because it is an extra day he didn’t get to have.) Then I sart writing. Whatever comes into my mind (as if you hadn’t noticed).
“Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you're going to do now and do it.”
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