His name is Little Abner. He’s small – just nine weeks old – and all paws from what I hear. He will not stay small long.

Little Abner

Today, I hope to meet him at the SPCA near the farm. I hope I love him. I hope he licks my face. I hope I bring him home, squiggling in the front seat of Honey the Hyundai. I hope he hasn’t been adopted yet.

So much hope and behind it that tinge of fear that touches all things we hope for. The fear that he will eat my dad’s furniture, that my dad’s dog will hate him, that the cats will want to kill him (okay, that’s certain), that I will not be able to care for him well. The fear that he already belongs to someone else.

But every new adventure, no matter how small and squiggling, comes with these risks. Every new one.

Every day in these weeks, I sit down at 10am to revise another chapter of You Will Not Be Forgotten. Every day, I resist, put it off by sharing one more post on Facebook or reading one more screen of tweets. By vacuuming or packing something.

Because the closer it gets to being done, the closer it gets to being rejected.

When I first started writing, the fear was that I couldn’t do it; I couldn’t write a book. But then, I did. I wrote it. It’s drafted, done except for revisions. Now, the fear is that I can’t sell it, that no one will want it, that all this work will have been for naught.

And the truth is that it might not sell. I have to live with that fear, but I can’t let it stop me from finishing. If I do, I will have let the fear win, and that’s just ridiculous. If I let fear conquer me in this, the biggest risk I’ve taken in my life so far, then it will be too easy to let fear win in little things, like puppies.

So here I come chapter 9 and maybe even chapter 11 (somehow I accidentally edited 10 yesterday). Here I come agents and publishers, the farm, and a new year of Relay For Life. Here I come friendships and dreams I haven’t even had yet. Here I come Abner, the coonhound. Maybe we can howl away the darkness together.

What do you fear and how will you fight past it?

Update – Little Abner has moved to New Jersey. I spoke with the shelter just after I finished this post. Sometimes those fears become realities, and still, it’s worth the risk, every single time.