It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult. ~Seneca
Becca posed a wonderful question on Write on Wednesday this week. What could you accomplish, if you only dared? Or if you knew you could not fail?
That question opens Pandora’s second box; the one that was full of good will, good luck, and good things. I have to go back to a quote I refer to often. My father said to me, when I was very young, “You can do anything you want.” I believed him. If I were another person, I might have said, “yeah right, whatever.” Who knows? The stars were aligned just right while my psyche was forming, and I have pursued life with this as my mantra, knowing that not everyone realizes it is true for him or her, too. Of course, along with being sure you can do anything you want, hard work must accompany the desire. Things don’t just happen by themselves.
One day I decided I wanted to be a published author, to be able to sit all day, no one else’s clock to punch, and write and write and write. Although writing has always been a part of my life, I began writing in a different way. I pursued my writing “career” with a lot of hard work. And I continue to do that – no publication date within view – but I am still working towards that goal.
It is the second question, “Or if you knew you could not fail?” that does not make sense to me. In no way should a goal be defined by success or failure; a goal is about the way there. It is all about the trip, or my second favorite mantra: “live in the moment.” I think about all of the things I have learned since I started on my quest to be “a real writer.” I researched for my first manuscript and learned a myriad of interesting things about Vikings, sagas, ancient manuscripts, and I made a new friend in Iceland. This is just a very tiny example of what I gained from that quest. I am so wealthy from the trip – and in a small corner of my brain the hope of getting this manuscript published still exists. There is always hope!
My greatest aspiration is to give this gift to my students, and especially to my children – to realize that they, too, can do anything they want.
The most wonderful thing I have found on my writing journey is the gift of friendship. I have met so many wonderful people in this particular writing arena; like minded people I would never have met had I not decided to take this trip. This trove was compounded by a tangible gift this week.
As I drove past my house on the way to the garage Wednesday afternoon, I saw a brown box on my front porch. The mail man drops our post and runs because the ferocious beast on the other side of the door scares the bejabbers out of him.
I retrieved the box and and set it on my desk while I decompressed from a day of work. Changed my clothes, drank a glass of ice water, checked the phone messages, pet the dog. Then I opened the box and set the contents on my desk and admired it.
I took the pup for a walk. The sun was out, the leaves were crunchy, Terra was happy, bouncing and trotting through the long grass. Sitting on my desk was a present to open.
When I got home, I unwrapped the gift. The bird on the front was apropos for a couple reasons. It is fall, spooky time, and there is nothing spookier than a raven. Edgar Allen Poe and all that good stuff. It was also appropriate, because of the contents of the package.
My very own copy of Bird by Bird, a gift from Carl. I have been raving about this book for quite a while, bemoaning that I had an overdue copy from the library, but could only read a page at a time, to savor and soak it up. And the package had other goodies in it, too. The ever spooky eyeball bubbles, gravestone erasers, a Halloween bookmark, and a beautiful card by Anne-Julie Aubry. What a treat. I sat down immediately and moved all of my stickies from the library book to my personal book. Then I read two pages. Ahhhhhhhhh. Life is good. Thanks Carl!
I received another gift this past week; a totally different form of a gift. I was assigned a new intern three weeks ago. She was teaching in a very difficult situation, her supervisor said she was failing, her mentor did not have a background in the area she was teaching; they did not find a meeting point. When the supervisor performed her surprise observation this past Thursday, the intern got an A+. I was so pleased for her, and happy for myself. We had connected, she was open to my ideas, she worked hard, and it became a happily ever after!
The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself. ~Edward Bulwer-Lytton
I remind myself of this every day, and find that if I follow this advice, the results are never disappointing.
I took Friday afternoon off to help my youngest get ready for Homecoming. What a great week!