I’m sitting in my recliner, feeling absolutely over-whelmed and anxious. And I’ve done nothing. Not a damn thing. I have the new first words. They are in the front of my head and practically scrawled across my eyelids. But it’s so much easier and so much more preferable to sit here and ignore the thumbnail lurking in the corner of my desktop than to acknowledge that I’m ready to work…when I’m not ready to work.
I keep on being told that I’m “close.” I’m almost there to some magical word that’s going to make an agent or a publisher stop and take notice, will pull my baby from some mythological slush pile and say “This is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for.” Oh, how I’ve dreamed. How I’ve wished and pondered and hoped and wished and pondered and hoped. I’ve spent imaginary royalty checks in so many ways, invested this money wisely and blown it at the same time. What’s wonderful about imaginary royalty checks is that they don’t bounce like real ones when the money isn’t, actually there. So, off to imaginary debt-free land where a little less anxiety lives and my novel is published.
Yeah…published. The ultimate dream of mine. But I keep on pushing my manuscript back and pretend that I’ll get around to it soon because “I know what needs to be done. I just have to do it.” I feel like a broken Nike commercial. It’s easy to tell someone to do it. I do this all the time when I’m at work. I tell my students not to “try” but to “do.” Mrs. Harding, my creative writing teacher and inspiration would be laughing right now. She taught me that lesson…or…rather, I witnessed her teaching this lesson to another student.
I want to write. I feel like I have to write constantly even when my fingers are sedentary and my brain is mush. Even now, as I watch my fingers dance across the keyboard (how cliche’ is that I wonder), I still feel like I’m doing nothing because that thumbnail is still down there.
I see you, Beth. I hear your voice again. I know it’s time for us to talk. But I’m scared. I’m scared that this journey will be another long year of writing and editing and knowing I’m “close” but never getting there. How much further do we have to go before we are done? I want your voice to be heard by the world, too. I want your story to be told. But I’m scared…
I’m scared that this will never be done and I’ll have another failed dream on my hand, like all the times I’ve stepped on a scale hoping to see even a couple ounces gone and realize that I’ve gained a couple of pounds. Damn water weight. Don’t tell me I’m not fat. I’m not stupid and the mirror doesn’t lie.
That’s beside the point.
It’s 7:17 on a Monday evening in mid-January. It’s time to stop avoiding. It’s time to start walking.
Wait up, Beth. I don’t know what a crawdad actually looks like. But maybe we’ll find one together.