I'm trying to put together a fund that will allow me to write the last book that I'll probably ever write. At the age of 72, I've got COPD and congestive heart failure. (A particularly annoying use, I believe, of the word “failure.”) I've lived with them for about 10 years, and until last year I thought I had them under control.
Last year I came to my sister's house here in Florida, on my way to Greece. Some friends have created an artists community where I've lived before, and where, thanks to my friends' generosity, I had stayed for very little money. I had written two of my books there, and I was delighted to be going back. I estimated that it would take me a week or two, maybe a month, to find a new agent for the new book proposal, and that it would take not much longer for the agent to sell the new proposal. I had, after all, sold 13 books with an agent, and 2 books on my own.
It turned out that I was wrong. The agents who wrote to me told me that the Internet had changed things. Publishers weren't buying proposals these days.
I sent out more queries to more agents; I waited. Then, at the beginning of the fourth month, my two ailments decided to produce a really big show.
My breathing grew more shallow and therefore more scary, my ankles and calves grew swollen with edema, my thinking grew more sloppy as my inertia grew more inert. For a while there, I could barely walk.
I worried that my writing days were over. I worried that my days themselves might be over.
With the help of Medicare, I got a big oxygen concentrator for the bedroom. Better. At least I didn't worry about waking up dead.
And then, earlier this year, when I was starting to feel better, the editor of a mystery magazine emailed me, said he admired my work, and asked me if I'd be willing to do a short story for him. It wouldn't pay much, he admitted, but he said he'd like to see me back in print again.
I wrote it; he liked it. I was ridiculously pleased.
Now I'm on new medications, two separate inhalants, and for the first time in months I can actually breath. I won't be entering any marathons, but I can walk around without a tube in my nose.
My hosts in Greece will be arranging oxygen for the little apartment I'll be renting, and all the medications I need are available in the village nearby, even the fancy inhalants. I have a lot of friends there, and someone will always be available to help me if there's a serious problem.
But I can't fly there, or fly anywhere, without a portable oxygen concentrator. The portable version weighs about four pounds versus the fifty pounds of the big one, and no airline will let me on a flight without it. This will cost $3,000, of which my insurance company will pay 50%.
I'll be arranging a health insurance contract before I go, so if I require serious medical help I can get it. And I'll still need to pay for the medications. Not to mention food and supplies and a small rent.
I also need to give some money to my sister, who's been put to a lot of trouble, emotional and financial, by having me here all this time. I've been a burden to her, and, although she's been very good and generous about it, it's been hard for her.
The people who do donate to help me with this venture will have their names written into the book's acknowledgements. (Unless they prefer not to be acknowledged.)
To sum up my writing career so far, I've written and published 15 novels. These are all reviewed and available, on Amazon, Abe's Books, Barnes and Nobles. My reviews have all been generally good. Amazon has quite a few of them.
I figure I need about $12,000 to pull this off. I hope that anyone out there who might be interested in helping a writer finish a book would consider supporting me with this. It will be, I promise, a very good book.
An excerpt from it is available here: waltersatterthwait.net