I saw it as I stopped to gas up the car, the other day. A horse in a van. Eyes covered with “pacifier” blinkers that completely covered his eyes, to keep him calm in transport.

Reminded me of me. Of a deep desire.

When I enter the transports of myself, bound for the story, all I really want to do is to retreat to the dark room of me, isolated with the book, the character, the words. I want to go where the story takes me, without the distractions, the demands, the interruptions of the house, the job search, and my own straying thoughts.

Those transports have been hard to come by, lately.

I read somewhere that a great painter—daVinci, was it? Michelangelo?—preferred to shut himself away in a windowless room, to work where he couldn’t see the distractions of the changing day. I know how he felt.

Life, at the moment, is schizophrenic. The move, down to the flotsam and jetsam of my life; the bits and pieces that resist organization into boxes and categories. Although I have broken the back of packing, mostly, although I have the help of helpful Moe (who’ll probably wind up accidentally taped into a box), the unpacking looms like a cliff face. I am trying to deal with it one task, one packed/unpacked box at a time. And, strangely, I will miss the obligations of the work when it is finished. The realities of the dark room will invite me in. The thoughts I have had to set aside will be waiting to ambush me there.

I expect novice marathoners must feel like this—or sprint horses forced to race the mile-and-a-half…frazzled in the final stretch, digging for the strength to go on, trying to stay focused, stay positive. The boxes are legion. The words aren’t friendly; the world is less so. The blinkers don’t help. The focus comes from the heart. The heart is tired.

And isn’t exactly when we need that blinkered focus most?