You have to know I’m terrified of heights. T E R R I F I E D. Like standing on the second step of a ladder to put away a bowl on the top shelf of the kitchen cabinet makes me break out in a sweat. My heart quakes. I won’t even contemplate changing the light bulbs in the ceiling fixture. Maybe it’s a little dark in the kitchen sometimes. If it bothers me, I can always bring in a table lamp.
So when at forty-four I signed up for what was benignly called the “ropes course,” a six day out-of-doors training intended to get clear about my goals and how to achieve them, I never expected that would involve hanging upside down one-thousand feet above a ravine of mature trees, clinging to a thick rope across which I was supposed to pull myself two-hundred feet.
Mid-way, my arms ached. No breath was left in my lungs. I wasn’t going to make it. I was sure I was going to die out there above that chasm. Would they rescue me by helicopter? Did they even have a rescue plan? What would they tell my children? I looked over at the people on the platform yelling for me to keep going. Hopeless, I thought. I’m going to fail.
Somebody yelled, “Scream!” I didn’t need a lot of encouragement. When I screamed, my stomach muscles clenched and I discovered that if I inched my hands up on the rope and dragged my legs forward, I would move. What seemed like three days later, I made it to the platform. The doctor on hand looked into my eyes and declared me okay to continue. I had no idea what came next was rappelling down the side of a mountain.
This feeling of not knowing what I’m doing, of being petrified, found its way into No End of Bad when Margaret climbs out onto a roof to escape assassins and when Lenore interviews the FBI director. They take their courage in their hands and do what must be done.
Writing is far less terrifying than escaping a killer, or completing the Tyrolean Traverse, but it takes persistence to sit down day after day and put one word after the other. It takes courage to look at your work and wade in up to your hips to revise it or throw large chunks of it away.
Courage and persistence are what get us to the other side. Like all the women characters in No End of Bad, we draw on these traits from that inner core of strength we don’t even know we have.
Ginny Fite is the author of the dark mystery thrillers Cromwell's Folly, No Good Deed Left Undone, and Lying, Cheating, and Occasionally Murder, Ginny Fite is an award-winning journalist who has covered crime, politics, government, healthcare, art and all things human. She has been a spokesperson for a governor and a member of Congress, a few colleges and universities, and a robotics R&D company.
She has degrees from Rutgers University and Johns Hopkins University and studied at the School for Women Healers and the Maryland Poetry Therapy Institute.
Ginny has also authored I Should Be Dead by Now, a collection of humorous lamentations about aging, three books of poetry, The Last Thousand Years, The Pearl Fisher, Throwing Caution, and a short story collection, What Goes Around.