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  • Writer's pictureSaneatra Polk

Out of My Mind and Out of My Own Way

The train creaks along the tracks before coming to a complete stop in a barely lit tunnel. Passengers are waiting to get off the train. These passengers are incomplete stories. Some are half way through the first draft and some have outlines and character profiles. I also have stories stuck in my mind. These are the passengers on the platform waiting to get on the train.

The passengers hear the wheels grind against the rails as the huge piece of metal echoes through the tunnel. They all turn their attention to the opening of the tunnel expecting to see the train emerge from it. Instead, they see a dark figure standing on the tracks. Some feel compassion because they don't want to witness someone's death and other's are in a hurry to get to their destination. They have places to be, they don't want a second of their stories to be held up by someone unsure what to do with their own life.

The conductor takes a closer look at the dark figure. It's a woman dressed in all black. Someone on the tracks will throw her off schedule. The conductor starts to wonder if things will ever go as she planned them. Will she ever be able to adhere to the schedules and deadlines she sets for herself. The conductor gets anxious and immediately thinks its possible the distance traveled has been for nothing. The novellas, the short stories and the flash fiction all stuck in limbo. The woman starts to approach the train instead of getting out of the way. The conductor shines the light on the woman for a closer look. Her jaw drops because she's staring in the mirror. The woman on the tracks is her, she's standing in her own way!

She is stopping herself from proceeding with her own ideas. The woman on the track yells, "All you have to do is tell me to move and I'll move!"

The conductor thinks, "If she moves then i can go forward and I can drop off and pick up passengers and possibly stay on schedule. Reach the goals I set for myself." Then the conductor is stricken by fear as her mind races, "What will that look like. What will it be like to publish or share creations? Who will read it and will they like it? What else is on this track?"

The woman manages to climb onto the train and is now staring the conductor in the face.

The conductor does not know what lies ahead of her but she knows she doesn't want to stay stuck in the dark forever. She says, "move."

The woman holds her ear up to the glass that is separating the two.

The conductor clears her throat and speaks loudly, "Move!"

The woman on the tracks disappears. The conductor has come to the realization, that she has been standing in her own way this whole time.

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