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Finish line

I can remember that woman in the Olympic marathon who literally collapses feet from the finish line. Her body defies her will and she flops and flails to the ground, her limbs boneless and cartoon-like. That kind of system failure does not happen suddenly. She knew she was in trouble. The early warning signals started miles before; by the time she entered the arena, the sirens were blaring and the gauges had needles buried in the red.

But how do you stop? All that preparation. All that sacrifice. The dreams. The desire. The finish line is right there. RIGHT THERE! Come On!!! You can hear the screaming and begging in her head for her legs and body to just keep going. Mutiny knows no bounds. There are few things as devastating than to know that no matter how hard you want something, despite your very best efforts and the literal expenditure of all your resources, you can crumple to the asphalt feet from the dream. You can smell it, taste it, see others acquire it, yet you lie in a broken heap as they run around you. You can’t slight them or be bitter because they finish and you do not. There is no judgment in their achievements. It is only your own voice from which you must endure.

I set off on a little jog just over two years ago. It was a hobby, a dalliance. I would write something. I piddled with this blog initially but at some point it shifted and I had focus. I enrolled in a creative writing class. Now I was running but I felt awkward and gawky. There was no fluidity or grace. And my professor once harped on me that what I had written the previous week had nagged his brain for seven days and nights and was simply “Crap!” Mind you, he speaks with a thick Hungarian accent and he repeated the word crap about 15 times. So, I ran more. I ran with earnest. I kept going. Longer distances, faster speeds. And then, I realized I was in a marathon. Noticing freaked me out. I yanked up and came to a halt. Did I even want to run this marathon? Was I a serious marathoner? I really didn’t know. So, I started jogging again and then I was running;┬áthen I found my stride.

I approached the arena. I could hear the crowd. I could see the finish line. And I took inventory. Could I make it or would I fall flat on my face, a blob of useless limbs and impotent words?

Nope, I found a pocket of speed, a burst of power and I crossed the finish line. I wrote the end of a near 600 page novel last night. With Grace, it is done. I was not trying to win any races. I just needed to know I could do this thing. I have solidarity between my mind and will. No mutiny or sedition here.

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  1. Congratulations on finishing the first draft of your book. Quite the feat especially when you think about all the rest you have gotten done in that same period of time. Much exciting times ahead as you edit and share (and with any luck publish) your book.

    I love this running analogy for this. A wonderful depth to the images. And the idea of one’s own mind not revolting or being mutinous in something is wonderful. How often we allow or will and our thoughts to not match up. How often we stop just shy of achievement. Is it that I did not have the will, is it that I allowed my mind to scuttle me or that the reality of my capability and the fantasy of what I think I am capable of are not in line. Not everyone’s child is wonderful, we’re not all geniuses, and you can’t grow up to be anything you want. But when you see your potential realized or see that you are capable of something you wanted or are capable of something you were unsure of, that is a wonderful thing.

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