One of those. The “stale, flat, and unprofitable” mornings.

The songs of the birds, here. The silent power of the swollen river. The gentleness of nightfall. The silence. The peace. The knowledge of how much my parents loved this place. They are supposed to be enough. They used to be.

Sometimes they’re not. Sometimes nothing is.

Started on Saturday night. The ugly place. No explaining it. The work of the day had gone well. In the morning, my three-miler. The pasture was beautiful, the morning cool, the sky an untroubled blue for the first t time in days, it seemed.

Everything was wonderful. Except me.

Stood outside the work after a quite nice day at the page. And felt nothing. Worse than nothing—because everything I did feel had doubt in it.

Then, yesterday, the call I didn’t want. The shakingly bad response that I least needed to hear. It wiped my slate. It broke me in pieces.

The what I want, the who I want to be: They are nowhere. The book I have nursed and coddled is suddenly flimsy and insignificant. Darkness sits on my shoulder. What I am not weighs more than what I am.

It feels like restlessness trapped in quadriplegia. It feels like deaf Beethoven straining for the vibration through the wood of the piano. It feels like invisibility, when all I want is to be seen.

Was saved—for a moment, anyway—by dear Glorious, who took me for drinks, let me cry, let me pour the doubt into her ears. Glorious who, like my dear Mary, continues to have faith in me even when I have none.

Can one continue to love a deeply flawed lover-in-the-page? Can one not? Can one just step away? Or does one love forever?

Me, I love forever. It’s who I am.

Woke at 2 a.m., refused even by sleep. Woke remembering the day’s failure. Woke looking for answers; found a couple—not for the old love but for the new one. Something to make it stronger. Something that found the small-voiced hope in me and willed it, despite me, to live.

I am no worse off. I am no better off. I simply am. And I’ll keep going. Because I’ve got to. Because sometimes, forward is all there is.

[AND A NOTE: If you haven’t visited to have a look, if you haven’t read the chapters sampled there, I invite you to do that now. Because the writer needs it. Because need is part of what writers do.]