Winding country roads are beautiful aren’t they? Gorgeous vistas surprise us at every corner and each hill and dale invites us to explore further.
Except when it’s hours before dawn.
In thick fog.
This week I drove through fog that invited me to play a game of panic called “Where’d the road go?”
This game morphed seconds into minutes and surprised me at every turn. Lighter patches of fog allowed the blood to return to my knuckles before the next all consuming white blanket arrived to test my mettle. Each time the road disappeared beneath my tyres, my confidence shuddered. I squinted into the oncoming lights that travelled down the road, snakes of white lights heading towards me. My rear view remained black.
When a snake approached, I longed to turn and join their procession. The red lights in my rear mirror disappeared from view, swallowed up by the fog and left me on my own again.
How easy is it to follow someone else’s brake lights?
No need to focus on anything else. Follow the brake lights and trust the car ahead knows the road.
Unfortunately, my appointment couldn’t wait for the fog to lift, so I concentrated on the road in front of me, kept moving and arrived safely.
I’d just travelled a road devoid of landmarks, through nothingness; the only guidance an unreliable white line painted on the road and my reflecting headlights.
And I made it.
The parallels between my foggy morning drive and my most recent case of writer’s doubt weren’t lost on me either.
Just as my brain knew the road was there, somewhere under my tyres, my brain knows about writer’s doubt. It knows where the fears common to all writers originate, ways to calm their influence, and the camaraderie felt when authors are gracious enough to share their struggles. But knowledge alone fails when you are blanketed by a thick fog of anxiety.
Writer’s doubt still leaves me confused at times; I wonder what the hell I’m doing out here, and true to form, doubt everything about myself. There are no landmarks and only hints of safety when I catch the flash of a symbolic white line.
Fear often makes me wonder where this road is leading me and whether it’s trustworthy. It’s tempting to cross to the other side of the road, change direction and follow the red lights of others safely through the fog.
Why don’t I just stop and wait for the fog to lift?
This question runs on a loop as I wade my way through the fog with only my light to show the way.
And now I have my reply.
There’s an appointment I intend to keep.
It’s with myself.