I have a nice long fiction outline before me, and lately every time I think about making it a reality, I freeze up. I have the prose equivalent of cold feet. This may be because (as in relationships) I prefer the middle portion, where there’s an established rhythm and pattern, rather than the beginning (which is awkward) or the end (which is exhausting).

It’s times like this I remember how my mother taught me how to ride a bike. I learned very late — long after the other kids had been goaded by envy or visitation weekends into wanting to learn how. Not that I didn’t want to learn — I did — but moreso out of a sense of obligation. Everyone else can do this, I thought. Why can’t you?

So one sunny afternoon, my mother positioned me at the top of a slope, checked my helmet, asked me if I was okay…and let me go. Wind — and the sound of my own delighted screaming — filled my ears. Momentum carried me forward, and speed kept me upright. To my great surprise, I didn’t crash and burn.

That happened later. When I hit the mailbox at the end of the street where the boy I had a crush on lived.