Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Fear of Finishing

   Around age eleven, I became interested in electronics as my father was an Electrical Engineer and I was always fascinated by how things worked. After some basic instruction from my father, I soon began to repair the neighborhood TV's and radios. I never doubted my ability to fix anything that was brought to me. At thirteen, cars took over my world. I bought my first car with a blown engine for twenty five dollars, rebuilt it and sold it. Over the years, I have built hundreds of engines, transmissions and made money on the side by flipping cars. I picked them up, either wrecked or not running, fixed like new and re-sold. Never once did I lose confidence that when I was done, the finished product would fire up and run like a top.
   Three children, six grand children, two marriages to the same woman, a career in the Navy, retired shipyard worker, owner of a construction company and one aneurism later, I found myself at age sixty living in an old mobile home in a trailer park. Having lost everything and no longer able to do the things I was good at, I found my days reduced to sitting in a recliner reading books. At the rate of 2-3 books a week, new release fantasies could not keep up, so I would re-read the ones I had over and over.
   Frustrated with the lack of new fantasy titles available, I decided to write my own stories. Of course my children had to know what dad was doing, read some of what I'd written, and convinced me to take my writing seriously. After some minor success in a couple of writing contests and gaining the attention of a local independent publisher, I attempted to write a full length story. It's taken a long time but I'm ready to put the finishing touches on the story and write the last chapter.
   So what's the problem? The problem is that I have zero confidence in what I've written. Fear has dried up the ink in my pen. What if I put this all together, finish it and it doesn't start? Has this just been a total waste of time? I don't know if anyone else has ever felt this way, but it's a new experience for me and I'm not sure how to deal with it. I know some of you will tell me to suck it up and just write, but that is easier said than done.
   Maybe I'll surprise everyone, including myself, and have something new to share next week. In the meantime, here is another short scene from my fan/fic.
   Thanks for reading.

   As the men sat back down, Thom on his log behind her and Matrim on his stump, Moraine felt the weight of despair start to settle on her. From the look of the forest around them, the world had gotten much darker. Tall pines and leather leaf trees were completely brown without a hint of green on them. What looked like oak trees didn’t have a leaf on them. How long had she been held captive? Was Rand still sane? Would she be able to catch up quick enough to be able to help? So much had changed if what she saw in Matrim was any indication. It was obvious from the way Thom looked to him, that the young man was now the leader between them and had been for awhile. What could have happened to cause the role reversal between them?

   Alongside the pain that was still evident on Matrim’s face was also a much deeper pain of loss or memories of loss. Oh, he was still a trickster at heart and a defiant spirit, but there was something new. She would just have to figure it out. Yes, many things had changed, including her, but she felt she still had a part to play. Taking a deep breath, Moraine pushed aside the despair and smiled up at Thom.

   “Please tell me what has been happening. From the look and feel of the forest around us I can tell something is very wrong in the world.”

   After a quick glance at Mat, Thom tucked his knives back up his sleeves and snorted, knuckling the ends of his mustache. “Wrong?” he replied. “It would be easier to tell you what is still right in the world. But first I must ask you something, dear one. Do you have any idea how long you were held captive?”

   “No,” she answered. “I think time passes differently in their world. It could have been weeks but felt like years.”

   The compassion in Thom’s eyes as he looked down at her warned her that the time was longer than she imagined. As he hesitated, Moraine stiffened her resolve. “Thom, I need to know.”

   “It’s been over a year since you and Lanfear fell through the Portal Arch.”

   Her resolve and everything else in her mind disappeared as she struggled to breathe. A cold chill coursed the length of her body as she finally managed to take another breath. A year! How was that possible? When she looked at Matrim he gave her a slight nod to confirm Thom’s announcement and then grimaced as he looked away.

   “What?” she asked.

   After a moment of contemplation, Mat said with a sigh. “Bloody ashes, Moraine, everyone believes you are dead. How can they not? The Warder bond you had with Lan was broken and everyone knows that can only happen when one of you dies. I don’t know what kind of reception you will receive, especially from those crazed Aes Sedai. With the Amyrlin being deposed and stilled, the White Tower itself divided and Aes Sedai snarling and spitting at each other like tomcats, they’ll probably convince themselves that you are a creation of the Dark One.”

   When Thom saw the emotions vanish from Moraine’s face and the Aes Sedai mask slip into place, he knew he had better step in before Mat got himself into deeper trouble. “Lad, I think you better let me explain to Moraine what’s been going on first. Besides, I tell a better story than you do.”

   “I can tell a good story too,” Mat grumbled, “sometimes.”

   “Tell you what,” Thom said smiling. “I’ll tell Moraine what I can about Rand and Perrin and what has been happening in the world and you can regale her with tales of the indestructible, majestic, amazing and infamous Lord Mat Cauthon!”

   “Bloody old goat of a gleeman,” Mat snarled. “There’s no call to get nasty. I don’t care what you say, I’m no bloody lord.”

   As Thom snorted through his mustache and the corners of Moraine’s mouth twitched, Mat pulled the front of his black hat down to cover his missing eye. “Go ahead and tell your story, gleeman,” he said. “And I’ll make sure you don’t leave out any of the important stuff.”

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