Some of the stories are self-evident. “At the End of the Ninth Year” is the sort of quasi-scientific factoid we all discuss a dozen times, but neglect to write.
“The Other Highway” lies beside the main route heading north from Los Angeles. It has all but vanished under grass, bushes, trees, and avalanched soil. Here and there you can still bike it for some few hundred yards before it melts into the earth.
“Once More, Legato” spontaneously combusted one afternoon when I heard a treeful of birds orchestrating Berlioz and then Albeniz.
If you know the history of Paris during the 1870s’ Commune and Haussmann, who tore it down and built it back to the wonder it is now, and if you have experienced some Los Angeles earthquakes, you’ could guess the genesis of “Zaharoff/Richter Mark V.” During the last High Shake, two years ago, I thought: My God, the damn fools built the city on the San Andreas Fault! My next thought: what if they built it that way on purpose?!
Two hours later, the story was cooling on the windowsill.
That’s not all, but it should do.
My final advice to myself; the boy magician grown old, and you?
When your dawn theater sounds to clear your sinuses: don’t delay. Jump. Those voices may be gone before you hit the shower to align your wits.
Speed is everything. The 90-mph dash to your machine is a sure cure for life rampant and death most real.
Make haste to live.
Oh, God, yes.
Live. And write. With great haste.