Exceptional

William sat hunched over his keyboard. His fingers were anxiously typing away on the old mechanical keys. From outside his office, it sounded like he had a rivet gun building some steel fortress. His wife sat in the family room working on her Etsy site. She had seen him like this before and knew it was best to give him his space. Their dog lay just at his doorway, unsure if it was safe to go in.

William stopped typing. His back was aching from the tension. He raised his arms above his head and stretched in vain hope of forcing away the stress that bound up his body. He spoke quietly to himself. “Why did I go here? Is it age, my health, or simply burn out? Maybe it was all three?” He had been exceptional in his field for over two decades, but those days were gone. Becoming a writer was the most significant gamble of his life. A risk at a time he should be slowing down, not ramping up, but something kept driving him.

This book, this story, had to be exceptional. It had to attract a following. A paid following. William had given himself entirely to his new craft. This work needed to be more than exceptional. This book had to be the rule. To be the exception would mean it was better than anything William had done or would do. He felt the pressure building inside once more. He needed to walk away and take a break, but he only had one paragraph left in this chapter.

With the promise of fresh air, he diverted his mind away from its fear and furiously typed away once more. With the last period, he smiled. Then he frowned. Something was off. Something did not feel right. He read back the paragraph. The wording was weird, or was it just him? He sat there waiting for revelation. Something pawed at his leg. He looked down to find his dog. Even she could see he needed encouragement. “Let’s go outside girl.”

They walked out into the warm sunlight. The shade of the trees accentuated the yard. William looked up into the sky. “Am I doing the right thing?” There was no audible answer. He was not sure what he would do if there were. Peace began to come over him, and he smiled. His body started to relax, and he sat down on the porch swing. “God let me be exceptional. Let this work matter.” Somewhere inside himself, he heard “patience.”

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