I confess that from time to time, I overcommit myself. For example, early last summer I started a race report about my perfect day racing the Crusher in the Tushar (read part 1 here and part 2 here), then never finished.
But I will finish. Soon. I promise.
The thing is, that’s not even my worst started-but-didn’t-finish story. Not by a long shot.
See, waaaaay back in January (January, for pity’s sake), I talked about how I was going to write a story for the latest in the Ride short fiction anthology. I even came up with starts to three story ideas I had.
And then…I completely abandoned the project.
No, wait. That’s not precisely true. I actually did quite a lot with the project. Mainly, I decided that I liked my first idea — “Kokopelli” — best, and that I really wanted to complete that story.
So I contacted Keith Snyder — the publisher — and asked for an extension, which he courteously gave me.
Then I didn’t do anything else, until he called me a couple of weeks after the extension was past. At which point I promised that if he’d give me just a couple more weeks, I’d get the story done.
Which he gave me. And then I didn’t do anything.
As it turns out, I kind of suck. In fact, my failure to deliver a story completely derailed the book, which was otherwise completely finished and ready to publish and everything.
My failure killed a whole book. That’s a lot of suck, people.
Oh wait a second. I think that may not be entirely perfetly correct.
As it turns out, Keith himself also did not finish his story, either.
So, I would now like to propose this, as both an open apology and call-out to Keith:
I will finish my story by one week from today (i.e., by October 20, midnight MDT)…if you will do the same.
And if, furthermore, you will commit to soon thenafter publishing Ride 3 before the end of the year.
And if you don’t, well…there must be consequences (same goes for me, by the way). Which I will decide in the near future.
Accept this challenge, Keith, if you dare.
PS: Below is the start of my story as I originally wrote it.
Daniel was one of those people who never stops talking. Which explains why, right this second, he is saying, out loud, “Oh no. Oh no oh no oh no.” Even though there’s nobody around him.
Daniel, you see, thinks he’s probably going to die. And for once, Daniel is probably right.
Let’s back up a little for a moment. Not very far—this isn’t going to be some Tarantinesque flash-forward-flash-back story—but just a few minutes.
Daniel had been riding his mountain bike on The Kokopelli Trail, from Moab, Utah to Mack, Colorado. All 142 miles of it, in one push. By himself. In June. On a clear, windless day.
Which is to say that, about three minutes ago, the temperature outside was 102 degrees. (Fahrenheit.)
This was foolhardy, but not out of character.
But it wasn’t the heat that was likely to kill Daniel. At least not directly. In fact, right at this moment, Daniel isn’t really even thinking about the heat. Although he is sweating profusely.
He’s not even thinking about his broken collarbone, although I guarantee you that in about twenty minutes he’ll be giving it a considerable amount of attention.
Right now, Daniel is thinking about what caused him to endo and break his collarbone three minutes ago. Which was his friend Eric—very recently deceased—lying on the trail, facedown in what at first looked like a pretty good-sized anthill, but which in fact was an astonishing large pile of heroin.
Daniel doesn’t know what Eric is doing there. But he’s going to find out. Soon. Real soon.
As soon, in fact, as he stops wailing so I can step out from behind this rock and introduce myself.
And then we’re going to have a conversation.
I have no idea who the characters are or what ought to happen next. I expect I’ll figure something out soon?