Confession of the day: I am a coward.

Yep, it’s true. I fear many bizarre and small things in my life, including telephones and talking to people I don’t know. Considering that I’ve chosen a job which glues me to a phone and requires me to walk into jails, hospitals, and private homes, where I converse with cops and corrections officers, inmates, doctors, nurses, and people from every possible walk of life, you might think I’d learned to confront all of my fears and that I practice the Art of Courage.

You would be wrong – at least when it comes to writing.

Here I am, at the brink of completing this draft of Swimming North. I’ve been wobbling on this brink for two days now. In fact, I’m considering ordering in a lawn chair, a good book, and a case of beer. Maybe I could just sit here until I die. The view isn’t half bad, and I have my memories of the trip to sustain me. Of course, it’s an uncomfortable location in which to spend the rest of my life; rather precarious – a strong wind or a misplaced lawn chair leg could send me hurtling into the depths.

I can’t go backward; it’s too late for that. And if I move forward, one of two things is going to happen: I’m either going to discover that I have wings, or I’m going to crash on the rocks below. They are jagged, pointy rocks. I’ve survived that crash once or twice, but vital things were broken and I really don’t care to do it again.  I dream that maybe I’ve earned my wings this time, but I’m not certain, and as long as I hesitate here, on the edge of life as I know it, I can dream and imagine and avoid reality.

Okay. It’s a metaphor, and it’s over dramatic. Failure isn’t going to kill me. The bald facts are these: I’ve written almost to the end of Swimming North, The Fourth Re-write. And once I finish it, it will be time to look back over the manuscript and ask myself those very difficult questions. Will it work this time? Can I consider it the last of the rewrites and move on to the relative simplicity of revision and editing? Or have I failed, again, in even coming close to writing what I set out to do? If I’ve failed at that, have I succeeded in writing something else that is worth a damn? I tell myself that I will NOT rewrite this manuscript one more time, but my entire genetic code refuses to let me walk away.

What genetic code is that, you ask? The Norwegian Viking Code, that’s what. Viking warriors were shamed if they survived and their leader died. They fought until the bitter end, preferring death on the battle field to the life of shame they would lead if –

There I go again into the melodrama.  And while blogging is a Worthy and Important Activity, it is also a Means of Procrastination and Delay. I am off to take the plunge and see what happens. If I don’t come back – send all the King’s horses, and all the King’s men. I might just be in need of them.