Grand Adventure

I was a highwayman, along the coach roads I did ride

With sword and pistol by my side

Many a maiden lost her baubles to my trade

Many a soldier shed his lifesblood on my blade

The bastards hung me in the spring of ‘25

But I am still alive…

Tomorrow, I have a business negotiation to attend to, a meeting with my accountant, a radio interview, and a date. In between, I need to write that paper due Sunday, drop off my computer to finally get fixed, and drop off my paperwork with the Peace Corps so we can process my application, at long last.

Saturday, I see the Mikado with one young lady and hike the Marina Trail with another. I suspect the paper still won’t be done, so there’s that to do. Sunday, I have Quaker meeting and prepare for my trip to Portland, and that paper’s due. Monday, I head north with my friend Brandi Bennett for a combination business meeting and write-a-thon on the glorious Coastal Starlight line.

Did I mention the paper is about my company, FedoraArts Press, as we press into Brazil, one of the five largest ebook markets in the world?

Tonight, I just got in from Sacramento. I’m tired, and I’m also afraid.

I’m afraid of what I’ve set for myself. Of three dates and a radio interview and business and bull sessions. But as I sat with the fear, and looked at it in the firelight, I think I know what it was. I felt this the night before I flew to China. I felt this the night before I went up to the mountain for ten days of meditation. I felt this the night before I boarded the Lady Washington.

I’m having an adventure, and I’m afraid I won’t measure up.

I’ve failed before. Hell, I’ve failed more than a lot of people twice my age. I failed at Learning to Think, I failed at One Weird Idea, I failed at my first attempt at a degree. I still miss karate. And I’m not going to claim I know how to get over failure, or being afraid of it.

But it’s worth getting over.

This is night-before jitters. It means I’m doing something that scares me. Something I don’t know if I’ll accomplish. But if I fail again, it’s not going to be from lack of ambition and it’s not going to be from lack of effort. China exiled me three times, I came back four. I came into Northeastern University with a 1.666 GPA, I graduated with honors.

This means I’m doing something worthwhile.

And that makes the game worth the candle. I want to be scared of what I set out to do. I want to be worried I won’t be able to accomplish it.

If I only did what I knew I could do, what’s the damn point?


About R. Jean Mathieu

They say he speaks five languages, was conceived on a chess board, and once seduced a tong boss' daughter and lived to tell the tale. All we know is, he's called Roscoe. You can find more scurrilous lies at and buy his books at View all posts by R. Jean Mathieu

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