Risk Management

The title above is misleading. I know nothing about risk management. I am not one to play it safe. Even my closest friends will say, ‘Jane is terrifyingly impulsive.’ I’d like to say it’s because I’m brave. The truth is, I’m absurdly naive. Compound naivete with bravado (not the same thing as brave) and you have Jane Porter in a nutshell. A swaggering, swashbuckling woman of epic proportions—and epic mistakes.

I have succeeded in my profession because I take risks. I see a challenge and Pavlov-like I salivate and go for it. Instead I sitting on huge decisions I go with the gut, and my gut is emotion laced, not intellect based. I’ve sat with glasses of wine or decaf lattes late at night with the same close girlfriends, wiping tears, trying to recover from a spill and my girlfriends–bless them for loving me despite everything–gently press advice on me: ‘Jane, think caution, patience, steadiness.’ It sounds good when such advice is dispensed–yes, slower, quieter, calmer, yes, yes that is what I want. But then I wake up and its morning and the sun in Seattle might or might not be shining and caution is thrown to the wind. It’s a new day. Must dive in, must live, must try, must go for it.

This is how books get written. This is how new ideas take shape. Not from my keen, razor-sharp intellect (ha!) but my battered heart. And yes, it is a battered heart. I am steadfast with friendship, fiercely protective of my children, adoring of my family, but when it comes to romantic love…it seems beyond me. Or maybe I am beyond it. I am so full of emotions and passions, dreams and ideals. I want everything–not stuff, not possessions–but ideas, thoughts, experiences, life. Life.

I am in Hawaii this week with my children and my sister, Kathy, and her daughter and we’re having a wonderful time together and I know this is my last trip to Hawaii. It’s time to face forward, not back, and Hawaii taught me much but the only way I can reach for whatever comes next is by being open to new ideas, new experiences, new hopes and dreams. But what is this next? What will the next year be like? Where am I going in life? Does anyone else ever feel as out of control as I do? (Please, please say yes…)

Considering my close relationship with risk, you’d think I might have made peace with it. No. I hate failing, falling, hurting. I hate the cold dread one gets in the stomach, and the painful flutter-stutter in the chest when hope is dashed. I hate being disappointed, hate the sadness and sense of loss. If only we could find a way to take the sting out of stubbing one’s toe (or heart)?

I am strong, though (or is it foolish?) as I’d never tell someone how much I need him, share with a trusted friend how much I fear the road ahead, or let my family know how worried I get sometimes trying to pull of this whole writer facade. What if I’m not a writer at all? What if the curtain is pulled aside and everyone sees the Wizard working the controls in Oz? What if I’m cheating by trying to put order and structure on chaos and then blithely term it fiction? Romance?

If you ever meet me, you should know I am not the great hair and teeth of the photos on my site, but a bundle of questions and doubts I try to answer by throwing myself headfirst into everything to discover what is real, what is true, what endures. I don’t have my close friends here in Hawaii right now dispensing earnest advice, but my wonderful Libra sister has looked me in the eye more than once these past few days, and said, ‘Jane–slowly, patiently, calmly.’

She’s such a good sister.

If only I was ruled by my head and not my heart.

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