The words crowd me on paper, on the screen and in my head. The count goes up but my hero is walking in place, trapped far underground. Again and again I ask myself, "How much can one person endure?" because though I am not the hero, I am beside her in the darkness, in the black water, in the lighthouse watching the waves move from the high windows. My own powerlessness bleeds onto the page and I have to start over again. I dredge up memories from my own endurance and I ask myself, "How much can one person endure? Why did they bend here and break there?" How much is cruelty, how much is the tempering of spirit?