During the ten years or so between the age of twenty-two, when I began selling, and my mid-thirties, I was a happy man in my writing. I filled my pocket notebooks, numbering them so as not to lose track. Sometimes I lost track anyhow. I conducted my writing business with the bare amount of method, just enough to not lose pages of my drafts, and to ensure that I got a finished product out to market. It was still pretty chaotic. But I managed to get my stories done. In the first two or three years I was writing at least a story a week, sometimes two or even three. These were all pretty short. For years I had trouble getting beyond 1,500 words. I loved the short-story story form, but felt that I had to be able to write stories of 3,000 or 5,000 words or even longer. Occasionally I found an idea large enough for a novelette.
Those years that I did stories for Galaxy were the best years of my short-story output. But then things changed. Horace Gold had to leave Galaxy, for health reasons, and moved to California. Galaxy, and the magazine field in general, started getting into tough times. Magazines began to fold, unable to compete with television. I began to get restless.
During this period I had begun to write novels. After my first, Immortality Inc., I wrote Mindswap, Journey of Joenes, and a novel titled Man in the Water. I wrote five paperback thrillers for Bantam Books featuring my idea of a secret agent, Stephen Dain. Dain was my idea of a tough government agent, ruthless, but with good liberal values. My concept of Iran and Arabia was even more naive -- influenced by Kipling's Kim, and by Eric Ambler and Graham Greene.
Somewhere during this time my marriage with Barbara came apart. Barbara was a good person. But we were just too far apart in important ways. I moved out, into an apartment in what was then Hell's Kitchen, once rented by science-fiction writer Lester del Rey. It was a cold-water railroad flat, heated by a kerosene stove, and the rent was $13.80 a month.
Hell's Kitchen was an interesting, seedy, run-down part of Manhattan. Lincoln Center now overflows onto where I used to live. I began to get my life back together. I met a fascinating woman -- Ziva Kwitney. I found an apartment in the West Village, and proposed marriage. We moved to Perry Street, and so began a most productive phase of my life.
Early years in the Village: Walking, talking with Phil Klass, who wrote under the pen name William Tenn, always writing stories, browsing in bookstores, drinking a lot of coffee at various places around the Village. Considering whether I should try a formal study of the short-story form.