Wednesday, June 8, 2011


All my adult life, I dreamed of writing a great work of historical fiction, in the styles of Colleen McCullough’s The Thorn Birds or Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. Perhaps a darker essence, Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice. Decades after attending my first writers’ workshop, and years after packing my dusty journals away in an unused dresser drawer in the corner of an unused room, a blank page is all the exists of my novel.

Just a few days ago, I read a book in a single sitting: Kimberly L. Smith’s Passport through Darkness. I am inspired by her courage, her wisdom, her passion, her faith. I am awed by her frailness, her strength, her vulnerability, her humanity.

The blank page remains.

I am an empty-nester without demands of children, laundry and meals. I am without a job, saying goodbye to coworkers 26 months ago and embarking on a new life of volunteerism, a quest to change the world.

The blank page remains.

Perhaps my book is not a novel, a vehicle to provide income and a legacy. Perhaps it is a harvest of ideas, gathered seeds of wisdom to be scattered like the fuzz of an aging dandelion.

On June 7 Tuesday, Seth Godin writes:
Which of the four are getting in the way?
You don't know what to do
You don't know how to do it
You don't have the authority or the resources to do it
You're afraid
Once you figure out what's getting in the way, it's far easier to find the answer (or decide to work on a different problem).
Stuck is a state of mind, and it's curable.
You're afraid.

At this moment, I find myself picking up my empty coffee cup. My hands are no longer on the keyboard. Without a thought I stand to leave my desk, mindlessly giving myself over to the urge to walk downstairs to the kitchen, to get a fresh cup of coffee, knowing I will need to make another pot, that this will take time. I move to escape. I sit back down.

I am afraid. Failure? Exposure? Risk? Ridicule? Laughter? Stupidity?

Stupidity? I fear looking stupid. At stupid is defined as lacking ordinary quickness and keenness of mind; dull. If that is what I fear, that my book will lack quickness or be dull, I need only to think back about the books I’ve read that were dull. None come to mind. I can’t recall the authors and titles I found dull, only those that inspired and entertained me, took me to faraway places and exposed me to uncharted waters of new ideas.

Obstacles. What to do. How to do it. Authority and resources. Overcoming fear.

What to do? Write, words on the page, every day.
How to do it? An accountability partner, someone I trust to read my words, with the strength to refuse the mediocrity of a blank page, and the compassion to encourage more words.
Authority? I will harvest the words of my own life experience. I am the expert. I am the authority.
Resources? Yes, there is time in each day to write. Yes, there is an infinite number of book-books and e-books to inspire me, a limitless tribe of self-published and traditional authors who go before me.

A few days ago I used the phrase possible impossibilities.

A book. A book written from life experience, instinct and intuition. A possible impossibility.

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