I did it. I said I would, and I did. I finished Devotions, which I started in 2005, and I submitted it.

It is not a great story. It is also not the worst story ever. It is a finished story, and tonight that is what counts.

I’m not sure I ever explained the Poppet thing. Lisa Snellings makes these tiny little sculptures she calls Poppets. You can (and should) buy them in her Etsy store. A while back I decided that I was going to give myself one Poppet for every story that I sent out into the world, either by way of submitting to an editor or posting here on the website. They serve as a visual reminder of my body of work, a reminder that I have Finished Things in the past, that I have stories out there trying to make their way in the world and that part of me went with them.

I now have five. That is not a lot for someone who has been at this as long as I have. That’s part of why I’m dredging the backlog right now, because those five Poppets are not representative of the amount of effort I have put into this over the past few years. I should have more to show for the hours, the words, the workshops and critique, for the editing and cutting and tweaking and rewriting.

Interesting thing though: no sooner did I finish the housekeeping that accompanies the submission of a story than the next story started working on me. In the past hour I have come up with an ending that has eluded me for five years. So now my commitment is to get Red Carpet out by next Sunday.

I am a happier person when my mind is occupied making things up about people who don’t exist. I breathe easier when I know that there are Poppets on my desk, reminding me and encouraging me, and telling me that this is the right thing to do with my time. I think and daydream, write and rewrite. I rearrange my Poppets, perform my devotions, and I can smile.

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