Fear at the Finish Line

When we last left Betsy, she had fallen while trying to climb the hill of her aspirations, tripped by an unexpected mundane world disruption.  This was a disruption she should have seen coming—in fact, she DID see it coming—but she tripped on it anyway.  And when Betsy face-planted on the hill, she dropped the boulder of her work in progress which she had been carrying to the top.  The boulder flew into the air, landed on Betsy’s back, and broke into a hundred pieces.  Fortunately, Harry, Betsy’s Guide on her Quest to become a successful independent author / entrepreneur, carries super glue in his pack of essentials.

Now the boulder has been glued back together, but Betsy appears to be alone.  Harry is nowhere to be seen.  The Muse has gone MIA.  Have they finally given up on Betsy and headed off for parts unknown? Is it up to Betsy to get herself off her butt and over the finish line?

Oh, dear.  That can’t be good. 

Let’s see what’s happening…


*Betsy sits alone on the hillside next to her super-glued boulder*  *Looks to the east*  *Looks to the west* *Looks to the north and south*  *Nothing*


*Hills echo back her cry*  Hellooooooo oooo ooooooo


*The hills echo*  Harryyyy yyyy yyyy?


Muuuussseeee ssssss ssssss

I’m alone.

Alone…. alone…. Alonnnnneee….

*Betsy chews on her lip for a moment, then gets to her feet*  *She contemplates the hill of her aspirations rising above her* *Contemplates how far she has already come*  *Contemplates the boulder of her work in progress, which looks a little different now that it has been glued together and yet is lovely for all that*

I’m alone, and I have to decide whether or not I want to pick you up again, boulder.  I have to decide if I’ve made a big mistake.  If I’ve been wasting my time.  After all, you were something that was supposed to be written quickly—you weren’t supposed to take nearly this long.  Maybe you’re not worth finishing.

*If a boulder could scratch its ear nonchalantly, this one would*

I mean, yes, I have learned a lot by working on you.  I’ve learned how to plot more efficiently, and I’ll have learned some valuable lessons as I move on to my next full-length novel.  I can’t buy the experience you’ve given me.

*The boulder shrugs, metaphorically speaking, of course*

Maybe that’s all you need to be.  Maybe I don’t have to go to the trouble of finishing you.  Maybe I should start that full-length novel and let you be the way you are until I get around to finishing you sometime later.

*The boulder remains silent*

On the other hand, the top of the hill isn’t that far away.  I’m almost there.  And you were giving me some problems, but when I glued you back together, I saw what I need to do to fix them.  It won’t take too long.

*The boulder rocks back and forth*

But I’ve been wrong before.  You might not be worth the effort it will take to pick you up and carry you to the top.

*The boulder yawns*

Am I afraid to finish?  Is that what this is?  Why in the world would I be afraid to finish?  I’d think I’d WANT to finish and be done.  Why is it always so hard to take the last few steps to the top of the hill?

*If the boulder had a head, it would cock it quizzically*

Maybe it’s because when I finish, I’ll be opening the door and turning you out into the world.  And even though you are a very small boulder, a boulder that’s hardly worth mentioning in the great scheme of life, turning you out into the world means other people will read you and judge you.  They may think you stink, or they may think you’re okay, but either way, you won’t just be mine anymore.  And nobody else will understand you or appreciate you the way I do, because you’re mine.

*The boulder rolls forward*  I’m not yours now.

*Betsy stares at it*  Are you talking to me?  Seriously?

Why not?  You’re talking to me.

*Betsy shakes her head*  I really am nuts.  Okay, boulder, what does that mean?  Of course you’re mine.  I’m the one who built you, and I’m the one who glued you back together when you broke apart.

I’m only real when other people see me too.  Otherwise, I’m just one of your delusions.  For me to be a real boy, er, boulder, you have to let me go, let me go.

*Betsy thinks*. So I should get you to the top of the hill?


And then let you go?


I don’t know how many people will see you anyway.

Doesn’t matter.  The point is, as soon as someone else sees me, I’m my own thing.

Maybe that’s what scares me.

*The boulder considers*  Well, I suppose you could leave me here and go back down the hill.  You’ll remember I exist around, oh, never.

I don’t want to do that.

*The boulder shrugs*

What if you suck?

I might suck, but at least I’ll be done.

There is that.  *Betsy thinks*  *Picks up the boulder*  Okay, let’s do this.  It’s just you and me, boulder.

For now.


To be continued…



  1. It seems to me it’s also the problem of once one finishes one thing, then you need to get on with the next and you’ve already become familiar with the first thing and it’s become rather ‘comfortable’ after a fashion. Who knows how much angst the next thing will bring?

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