For me, this is the spring of commitment, a contract with my new novel, The Double Sun. I vow to listen to my characters, to let them tell me their story. When my protagonist, Caroline, courts danger, I will trust her to find a path to safety. When her brother loses his basketball scholarship, I will allow him to express his rage. When Caroline’s parents struggle to repair a failing marriage, I will wait for them to find the answers. I will give voice to and write down the words of the people who inhabit my imagination. My lack of balance often threatens to overwhelm me. I immerse myself too often in obligations and responsibilities, forgetting that art requires space, time, and a quiet mind. Imbalance was a condition of the past; balance will be a condition of my future. Therefore, I have decided to leave behind me the guilt of abandoned stories and unfinished projects, for they inhibit my creativity. Someday I may return to them, but I will do so without regret. The dog and I shall walk the neighborhood every day, finding joy in small pleasures: the bloom on a cactus, the scent of the air after a rain, the clever mimic of the mockingbird. I will then return to the writing desk, refreshed and renewed, ready to listen and to write. No regrets, no guilt. Just pleasure in the craft of the art.