Afraid of the What’s Next?

Hello. It’s been a while.

Since I crawled into my shell.

After that huge expansion that was producing and directing

“Skins I Have Worn” last October.


Much of that time was the contraction that comes after.

To be expected.

But it’s been a while. And I’ve gotten curious as to why.


Plus there’s a book of poetry that I was supposed to write.

Based on the show.

To be published in December. It’s nearly March.


So what happened? Where did the time go?

I’m looking back for a moment at all the reasons (excuses?) I had.

Good, legitimate reasons:


October / November. The show is over. I’m exhausted,

Contracting, regrouping. Taking time to reconnect with

Family and friends. Ok.


The Holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years. Boxing Day?

Travel, eating, family, gifts. My husband injures himself on a

camping trip. Ok.


January – It’s winter. Everything moves inward, contemplation,

Lying fallow. Letting things percolate. Growing roots before I can

Send the plant out into the sun. Ok.


February – I get sick. I never get sick. But for days I can’t get off the couch.

Even now, I’m still not quite 100%. Ok.


But in this state of slow – I’m stripping away all but the most important things.

I’m writing page after page – asking, exploring, discovering.

And with that comes the need.


The need Now to finish the book.

Yes. Finally. In motion.


Except…. It is nearly March. I am 95% there. 95% there.

I could be 100% with just a few more hours. But I don’t.

Instead 101 distractions. TV, company, cooking, facebook, good books

To avoid 100%.


So why? Why?

This is the question many of us ask ourselves. Why can’t we just finish the frigging thing already?


I suspect there are different answers for each of us – though the base cause is probably similar.

What I discovered this morning as I was writing and walking was:

I am afraid of the ‘what’s next.’


What’s next after that insanely committed, creative and connected feeling of flow I lived for weeks at a time?

I can’t imagine what could possibly recapture the high of that experience.

I am afraid to dream what else might be possible because it couldn’t possibly compare….


That’s why I don’t finish the book.

Because then I’d have to move on. I’d have to figure out my ‘what’s next.’

As long as the book stays unfinished I can tell myself,

“I’m still working on the book. When I’m done with the book

I’ll move on.”

But I don’t finish.


Because the ‘what’s next’ is:

The fog where we fear to step

The curve we cannot see

The risk

The unknown,

The terrifying unknown,

No wonder.


But after my walk this morning what I remembered was that the “what’s next” is also:

The mystery

The surprise

The delight

The ecstasy.


And I won’t get to taste any of that until I can bring closure to this.


So this evening, as I write about why I don’t write….


I am making the promise, the commitment, the vow.

To finish this book.a4de8a5057c3c184aecebc390b4f8ab2

So that I can, with sweet breath and beating heart,

Discover what is next.

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