I spent much of Saturday evening showing my unfinished stories to the non-writing friend I refer to as my plot monkey. I have hundreds of unfinished stories on my computer--confessions in one folder with sub-folders for Christmas, Valentine's Day, and other seasonal material; crime fiction in another folder, with sub-folders for Nathaniel Rose* and Morris Ronald Boyette*; and still other folders for other genres--and all evening I kept hearing, "Where's the rest of it?" and "I like this" and "I want to know how this ends."
I have so many unfinished stories that, by concentrating on finishing the stories I've already started, I could write for several years without needing to generate any new story ideas.
Which is a good thing because I haven't been generating new ideas. All the stories--characters, settings, concepts, opening scenes, etc.--that used to crowd my brain and leak out through my fingers are gone. I could drop a thought in my empty brain and the sound would echo for a week.
I never "heard voices" or had characters "talk to me" the way crazy people and some writers describe the process, but I constantly had ideas fighting for my attention. Because I had so many of them, I never had time to finish them all. I wrote as much as I could--sometimes an opening scene, sometimes a few key plot points, sometimes just the title when it was enough to remind me what the story was about--with the intention of returning later and finishing what I had started.
Many times I did return and finish these stories. but not often enough or I wouldn't have hundreds more waiting for me.
And now, when my brain has retreated to a linear thought-process of one-thought-at-a-time (the result of my surgery and increased blood flow to my brain? the result of the drugs I'm taking? the result of something else entirely?), it feels as if I've left the madding crowd far behind.
In fact, it's a little lonely in here.
*Private eyes who have appeared in multiple short stories.