I’m a walker.

My life is set up so that I only have to get into a car once a month for a meeting that I can’t walk to. Okay, I guess I could if I wanted to take two hours there and two hours back – and I’d be tempted by that if it weren’t for the small problem that I always have a pile of stuff to take with me. Heavy stuff like paper and binders.

Living in Vancouver, especially downtown, encourages me to walk. The beach and Seawall are a block and a half from where I live and I often walk it. I go down there for some exercise, as a way to spend time with friends, to get places at either end of the Seawall, to get out of my own head, and as a way to get into it.

If I’m blocked on a writing project, the easiest way for me to get unblocked is to walk. I know Agatha Christie said to do the dishes – walking is kind of the same thing. You have to pay a certain amount of attention so you don’t trip over a curb, run into a cyclist or a car, make the correct turns. s

You see the world differently if you walk rather than drive – you see detail instead of the big picture. I might have driven by this tulip bed and seen color and said, oh, isn’t that pretty. What I wouldn’t have done is seen the extravagantly erotic and beautiful detail of the beginning of this particular tulip’s growth.

The tulip is more than simply beautiful; it made me think about beginnings – the start of something. Beginning a book is a frightening thing, just as getting married, having a baby, starting a new job are scary things. But they’re also incredibly exciting. I guess scary and exciting often go together.

I think what we all need to remember when we start something new is that we can’t simply concentrate on the scary part of it, we also have to focus on the excitement. I’m an Aries, so I’m very good at beginning things – they always seem exciting to me. And they always scare me to death because I’m never quite sure if I will be able to finish them.

But from now on, when I begin a story, I’m going to put this tulip on my desk to remind me to enjoy the excitement of the beginning, and to remember that I can finish things. I’ve finished many things and there’s absolutely no reason why this story is going to be any different.

Got my fingers crossed that it’ll work.

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