"Come float with me in the pool," Anne said.
"I have to write something, first. It should only take a few minutes."
"Okay." She kicked her feet and drifted away.
It was early in the morning, and already over one hundred degrees. A light breeze did nothing to alleviate the heat, but I didn't mind. You don't go to the desert in July on purpose if you want to stay cool.
I opened my notebook and turned to a blank page. A pang of disappointment flashed through me when I only had to turn a few pages before I found one.
"I haven't written nearly enough this year, and it's more than half over," I thought. There are numerous reasons, some of them excuses, some of them explanations, none of them satisfying.
"Well, I'm writing now. That's what matters."
I clicked my pen open, and pressed it against the top of the page. I had to coax the first few words out, like starting an engine that's been left unused for some time, but eventually, they began to flow more freely. Because I was writing longhand for the first time in years, I took time to consider my words and phrases before committing them to paper, and had a lot of fun while I did it.
Like it so often does, the ending point surprised me and did not arrive when or how I expected. As I saw it approach, though, it was exciting, like picking up a present, and realizing after tearing away a few inches of paper that it something you really wanted was wrapped up inside.
I had only filled up one sheet of my notebook with mostly-legible writing. Words were crossed out in some places, arrows drawn around others reminded me to move things around when I transcribed it for e-mail. I saw that the left margin was smeared in places where the heel of my hand had dragged over the paper. I felt like I'd written much more than I actually had, and felt a little embarrassed to have been so excited while I did it.
"Sure, it's not very much, but you still made something where there was nothing before, and you had fun while you did it," I told myself, "so go ahead and enjoy it, but just keep it all in perspective. Use this as inspiration to keep writing – and finishing – all those other ideas you keep having."
My notebook has more empty pages than not, and just twenty minutes earlier, that made me feel sad. Looking at them now, though, those empty pages didn't represent the failure, or the fear, or the safety of just not trying … they represented the opportunity – the freedom – to make something where nothing was before.