Usually on Fridays afternoons, if the weather is decent, I drive my two dogs to a not-so-nearby park and we walk around the lake. I take quiet neighborhood streets to get there, and often, when we pass a certain house, I see a man either in his garage or on his driveway, working on a vintage truck he is evidently restoring. Slowly restoring.
When I was a wee lad, there was a neighbor down the street who had a 1969 Camaro, and though I could not drive and was years from being legally able to, I fell in love with that car. I would cup my hands before my face and press against the window to peer inside, imagining myself in the driver’s seat, tooling along and feeling fine.
Later in life, I fell in love with a particular woman, and her father had an old ’69 Camaro (even the light metallic blue color I wanted) that he was keeping running for one of his other daughters. When it came time to get rid of that car, (after I had married that woman) I considered buying it and fulfilling my long-held dream. But it was a mess mechanically, and I knew even less about engines and such than I do about writing. I discussed it with my own father, and he said that it would likely end up in my garage, taking up space, siphoning my wallet, and causing more frustration than satisfaction. Money was tight. Responsibilities were large. Time was short. I did not buy that Camaro, and I suspect to this day that was the right decision.
Which leads me to my Fathers and Sons stories. I’m in perpetual rewrite mode with them now. I read and I tinker and I get inspiration and go back and do it some more. And I think about that man restoring his truck or me with that broken-down Camaro. How much longer will I/must I work on these stories? When will I feel like I can let them go and send them to a good friend who offered to read them? To begin — gulp! — submitting them as a whole? Or are they going to remain permanently in the garage of my mind, always being improved but never being finished?