I have fought of late to keep my balance. I am dashing in and out of work projects, blitzing through study sessions for a wine certificate, planning in fits and starts for our April adventure in France, trying to get my hostess act together for friends’ arrival in June for the Seattle Rock-n-Roll Marathon, signing up for a swim clinic as I pursue a goal of an autumn sprint tri, getting back my running mojo now that eye surgery is behind me. Doing all these things with gusto, but not doing any of them very well. I’m scattered, at loose ends. I’m not unhappy; in fact, I feel outrageously alive and annoying cheerful. But I do feel a little out of control. For a Virgo, this is Situation Intolerable.

And I have not been writing with direction. Nor reading with purpose. I recently posted elsewhere in my virtual world that I used to read 2+ books a week; now it takes me 2+ weeks to read a book. My center has been knocked astray.

But today, brought in on a warm southerly wind, the muse appeared. She was off in the distance when I began working on a story last weekend, but this morning she decided to pay me a proper call.  I have the distinct feeling that she prefers me slightly hung over, revved on caffeine, and mildly hysterical from lack of sleep.

And now the wind is tossing the rain so hard that the windows seem covered in wrinkled and twisted plastic wrap. I feel a November need to nest, even though the rhododendrons in the front yard are ready to burst with magenta blooms. It is a day created for writing and I gratefully showed up to the page at an early hour.

I am working on a story I have titled Water Child, set in Tokyo and at the Kamakura complex of shrines about an hour outside the city. Last week I fought for control of my protagonist’s voice. Today I let go and let her speak. I had chosen a name for this character, but as I read through my draft, I discovered I had typed another name, one that belongs to a different person. At that moment I realized I had set myself aside and allowed in the woman whose story I am trying to tell.

And now I return to her, to discover what she has learned on our journey together, where she will go next, and if I will be allowed to follow.