I open the notebook and the first blank page stares out at me, issuing a dare. Rationally, I know that in time this book will be full of my scribblings and crossings. But right now I have a superstitious fear about writing anything in it. The first sentence will set the tone, decide whether this is to be a good or a bad book.

The notebook is all potential. I might make some character sketches for my novel, perhaps prove the conjecture that's been eating at me these last few years. Everything is possible, at least until that defining instant when I set pen to paper.

A decision will only speed me to the book's final closing. So for the moment I sit and think, imagining what might be written, not daring to write.