It always happens the same way.
There’s an idea. Today, it was an idea that will make an existing writing project much better: much more audacious, much bigger. Sometimes, though, it’s an idea for something new.
Anyway, it’s an idea.
I can feel the enthusiasm bubble up through my chest and into my cheekbones. I rub my hands together and clasp them close to my beaming face. I burble and chirrup with excitement as I scribble notes about how I’m going to do it and what the steps will be.
I fire off a note to Shannon.
“What do you think of my idea?”
“It’s good,” he replies.
In a moment of frantic typing the idea gets both bigger and more concrete. I map out the people I’ll ask and the steps I’ll take.
I open an email and begin to type. And that’s when it happens. When it always happens.
The tension in my cheeks drops into my chest and sits there gathering malicious energy as it grows in density. It morphs into a deep, cold ache in the centre of my breast bone. It sends out charges to my hands that leave my fingertips fizzing. I slide my chair backwards and stand up in order to get away from the spiteful force that’s collecting on my keyboard.
Partly it’s the realisation of how much work this will be. Partly it’s the knowledge of how much interaction this will entail. Mostly it’s reaching out (again) and asking people to give me help.
What if they say no?
Logically I know that what will have happened is that they will have said no. But my heart knows, KNOWS, that the universe will be shattered, will break into a million diamond-hard, cut-glass-sharp shards that will slice me into pieces.
I pace through the house, knowing that I will, eventually, write the emails. Knowing that, once I’m started, it wont be hard and knowing equally well that until that moment I will only be able to look at the task from the corner of my eye as it pulsates and glistens with malevolent intent.