Finding the Beginning

When we last left Betsy, she was actually doing pretty okay.  Well, she was doing something anyway and that alone is a step in the right direction.  There was much rejoicing in the land.

But Betsy would like this streak to continue, which means she not only has to finish what she’s currently working on, she has to figure out what to do next. She has to figure out where it starts and where it ends.  And once that gets going, she has to do it all over again for the next thing.  And the next.  And so forth.  And so on.

This is not as easy as it sounds.

Which is probably why we now find Betsy sitting amidst the long grass of the verdant meadow that lies on the shore of the lake in the center of her mind.  She is thinking deep thoughts as she figures out where she’s heading and how to get there and what to work on next and how to do it and where in the world she’s supposed to start.  She might, just possibly, maybe, feel like she’s flailing around a bit.

Oh no!  This is never good!  What will Betsy do now?  Will she give up? Again?  Will she cut and run?  Again?  Will she rewrite the same project over and over and over instead of being brave enough to press into the uncomfortableness of something new?

Let’s see…


Betsy is sitting in the tall grass on the shore of the deep lake in the center of her mind.  After a moment of what passes for thought for Betsy, she stands and wades into the lake’s cool, still water.  She splashes around a bit.  Cups the water in her hands.  It dribbles through her fingers.  She splashes some more, which does nothing but make a few ripples.  She sighs.  Comes back onto the shore and settles down into the grass.

What are you doing?

Turning, Betsy sees the Muse has appeared to sit next to her in the grass.  The Muse draws her legs up under her long skirt and wraps her arms around her knees.

“Well, I kind of need to write new things.”  Betsy gestures to the lake.  “I thought maybe if I went into the water, something would come up.  Or maybe I could catch something.  Or maybe I’d at least grab a clue.”

“Ah.”  Muse nods. “Good idea.  The lake of inspiration is deep and there’s a lot of junk in there.  Especially since this is your mind we’re talking about.”

Betsy frowns.  “Hey.”

“Why don’t you let me see what I can find?”

Muse gets up and strolls to the lake.  She walks into the water.  She keeps walking…and walking…and walking…. Soon she is under the water.  There are no ripples on the surface.  No air bubbles.  No disturbance at all.

One minute passes.  Another.  Then, as Betsy watches, the Muse starts to emerge.  First, the top of her head comes into view, then her soft, round shoulders, then finally all of her as she walks back up on the shore.  She is holding something that looks very much like a tangled ball of yarn between her hands.  The Muse is wet, dripping, and the drops of water sparkle like a million fairy lights in the glow of the meadow.

“Oh, geez!  You got all wet!”  Betsy cries when the Muse sits down beside her.  “That must be really uncomfortable.”

“Are you kidding?  I love being soaked in inspiration.”  The Muse holds out the tangled, messy ball.  “Here you go.”

Frowning, Betsy takes the mess from her and looks at it.  “Uh, thanks?”

“I believe this is what you were looking for.”

“Really?  It looks like it’s just a jumble of wet string.”

“Take another look.  Don’t see what you expect to see.  See what’s actually there.”

Obediently,  Betsy studies the tangle.  “Well, maybe…” She turns it around.  Examines it from every angle.  “I mean, I think I see what it’s supposed to be, but nothing is clear.”

“Of course not.  It won’t be clear until you unravel it.”

“Unravel it?  How am I supposed to do that?  All of these threads are tangled together and they’re wet and knotted.  I mean, I’ve already decided where I want to try to end up.”  She points towards a mountain in the distance.  “But I don’t know if unrolling this ball will lead me there.  Heck, I don’t even know if the string is long enough to GET there.”

“If it’s not, then maybe that mountain’s not where you should go,” the Muse says.  She lounges back on her elbows in the grass, tossing back her soaked hair with a sigh.  “You might not take quite as long a trip as you think you will this time, or maybe you’ll go in a completely different direction.  You just have to unravel the string and find out.”

“Oh, just that simple, huh?  Sheesh.”  Betsy frowns.  “Besides, it’s all tangled up.”

“Then, I guess you’ll have to find the beginning of the mess and start pulling.  That’s the only way to get things moving.”

“The beginning?”  Betsy chews her lip.  Examines the tangle.  “I guess…is this it?  Is it  How about…no.”  Rolls the mess around in her hands.  Looks at it from every angle.  “Where is the start?  Where did it go?  Why can’t I see it?”

“Sometimes the beginning is more hidden than the end is,” the Muse says.  “After all, you often know where you want to end up, but you can’t always see the place where you’re starting from.  Just pick at the closest string and pull.  You don’t have to find the perfect starting point, not yet.  It’s more important that you start SOMEWHERE.”

“Are you sure?”

“Am I the Muse or not?”

“Okay.”  Betsy chooses a thread and picks at it with her fingernail.  The yarn is very wet with inspiration, so it’s hard to get it loose.  But finally she manages to wiggle the thread free and the soggy mess unrolls for a bit before it stops.

“There you go,” the Muse smiles.  “You’ve started.  And we’re off on an adventure again.”


To be continued…



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