I am sitting at the Amtrak station when I know I am only one of Sable’s sleek black whisker’s width away from fully committing myself to November’s national novel-writing month. My stomach clenches at the thought. It terrifies me. 50,000 words in 30 days means 1,666.66666 words per day and 6.66666667 pages (of 250 words per page). My quick work on the calculator hooks me in even more. No Satanic inklings here, only the magic of these sequences of sixes, of forward progress–and how, hmm? If I write 7 pages per day, I’ll have written 210 pages by the end of the month. And maybe I’ll throw my hat in the ring for that young adult novel contest, after all. Last week I entered a different book contest, and, counting this young adult contest, I plan now to enter three more this week. I keep the pen moving across the page and remember to pull in air. I can still feel the tightness in my belly, more thrill than fear now, though the balance is close. I feel it in my bones, in the sun on my back, in my pleasure in the conversation I am overhearing part in English and part in Spanish, the fluid back and forth, the “I love you” when they part, father and daughter, I think. I feel in my fear and my thrill I may be truly ready to have my work win one or more of these book contests. If I submit the different pieces I have in mind I could win three of the four contests. I want to laugh out loud, but I keep writing. I am ready to burst out into the literary world with these winnings and the published books. I am ready to take the world by storm or in a swirling rush of wings, the sudden whoosh of the slow, deep strokes of a raven overhead, the feathery brush of angels, my breath easy now in my chest, heart light with hope, mouth full of magic.