Most working writers are like dragons: they know down to the nickel what’s in their hoard. Maybe not their hoard of gold on hand—because usually what they have on hand is a shortage of gold—but for sure they know when the gold is expected. They know who owes them what, and when it’s supposed to come, and (if they’re honest) how many months late it will probably actually come. It’s a survival trait. When food is scarce, you keep a watch on the supply trains.
Except this time.
Our budget has been pretty tight around here of late, and our contingency actions included borrowing some cash. (If you read the papers, you’d think that was impossible. And yet, though GM can’t get a loan, the credit card companies continue to offer no-interest balance transfers, even to people who demonstrably are unlikely to leave the debt in one place long enough for it to kick up to the higher rate.) Well, we determined to keep a trusting attitude about it all, and even decided that we needed to be more conscious about giving away a proper tithe of the money that does come in. Giving back to God, paying forward, call it what you will.
Today I opened an envelope from my agent—and what did I behold? A check. A substantial check. It seemed that, most undragonlike, I had forgotten that there was an on-publication check owed me for Sunborn! I had forgotten! (All of my other contracts have called for payment on signing and on acceptance, but this particular one was structured differently from all the others.) I had forgotten! Whoo-whoooo!
I did three things right away. I thanked God, I called my wife, and I took that sucker right to the bank.
“God only exhibits his thunder and lightning at intervals, and so they always command attention. These are God’s adjectives. You thunder and lightning too much; the reader ceases to get under the bed, by and by.” —Mark Twain