When the drought broke

“You only fail if you stop writing.”

My mentor’s gentle eyes bore into my soul. He knew that I’d written every day for six days, just as I’d planned, and on the second 15 days I’d rested.

“You only fail if you stop writing,” he said.

“I know, I know. You’re right. I failed,” I said.

“So write.”

“I will,” I said.

“You only fail if you stop writing,” he said. “‘I will’ is not ‘I am.’”

“I know.”

“You only fail if you stop writing,” he said. “ ‘I know’ is not ‘I am.’”

I took a deep breath.

And wrote:

“In a land far away there was a lone rider. What he was riding is a little hard to explain if you’ve never been to that far away land. It was soft like a pampered dog but big like a horse, but with a smushier face than a horse or a dog, but not so smushy that it was a human or an ape. So: A larger snout than ours but shorter than theirs. But big enough to ride comfortably and big enough that it didn’t mind so much being ridden.

“I suspect, though, that you don’t want to know about the animal so much as the lone rider. Why was he alone? Where was he going? Where was he coming from? And what is the dark secret that complicated his life to the point where he was making this journey alone?”

“That’s better,” my mentor smiled. “Go on.”

“The dust on the rider’s clothing and the weary gait of the animal told us they had been riding for a very long time — hours, or even days. The animal couldn’t or wouldn’t talk, and the rider had nothing to say. The miles went by slowly in silence. A barely noticeable path through a large flat plain, the sun bearing down on amber waves. Not a desert, but not a lush land or a wooded plain by any stretch. And still silence everywhere.”

“I see what you did there,” my mentor said. “‘Still silence …’”

“Thank you.”

“You only fail if you stop writing.”

“But it’s time for breakfast.”

“And you have written. It’s so easy, isn’t it?”

“Only when I take the time.”

“So …”

“I’ll take the time.”

“Good lad. Go eat.”

Published by WarrenBluhm

Wordsmith and podcaster, Warren is a reporter, editor and storyteller who lives near the shores of Green Bay with his wife, two golden retrievers, and an insistent cat. Author of Gladness is Infectious, 24 flashes, How to Play a Blue Guitar, A Bridge at Crossroads, Refuse to be Afraid, and A Scream of Consciousness.

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