I’m undoubtedly in the least sexy part of Portland as I ride my bike around my airport hotel. Planes are roaring in for a landing overhead as I weave through traffic, but I keep pedaling. After two days of sitting inside the Willamette Writer’s Conference, I desperately need to get outside and move.
I’ve pitched my erotic memoir three times. Two balls. One hit. I somehow got lucky with an editor who extracted outdoor adventure erotic memoir from my excited, muddled delivery.
I’ve been obsessively refining my pitch for three days now but it’s still missing the plate. My head hurts from thinking. My body aches from sitting in workshops.
I’m all out of sexy.
But I need to get it back. I have one more pitch appointment with an agent scheduled for tomorrow, the last day of the conference.
I turn left on a road less traveled and within a mile it is framed on both sides with blackberries. For the first time in three days my thoughts quit trying to condense my 60,000-word manuscript into four dazzling sentences. I hear the ripe, voluptuous berries instead, hundreds of them, whispering to me in their enticing, collective voice:
I abandon my workout, toss my bike on the shoulder, and feel a little like Eve as I let myself be seduced.
The berries bleed purple on my fingertips and melt like August sun on my tongue. I clean the branches closest to me like a small bear. Their sweet juicy essence is exactly what I need. But to get more, I have to navigate through the thorny branches that have been puncturing my fingertips and scraping my legs.
As I lick my sticky fingers, I have a small epiphany on how the universe is giving me exactly what I put out.
These tangled, thorny branches remind me of mental state the past three days, all twisted, prickly and sharp with perfection. Yet, I’ve also been in ripe berry mode, flirting with everyone I meet and showing my juicy, erotica-writing self.
I realize I need both the thorns and the berries to bring this goal of publishing my memoir to fruition.
But right now I need way more of the berries.
I brace myself and step deeper into the thicket.
As I ride back to the hotel, my breath catches in my throat as I see Mt. Hood rising white and jagged out of the lavender twilight. My fingers and lips are stained and sticky. I have red scratches all over my hands, arms and legs. My bike shorts have a few new snags.
I’ve got my sexy back.
What are you working on bringing to fruition? What are your berries? What are your thorns?
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