We’ve done a lot of chatting about rules and lists this week. As I sat with my legs propped before me and pondered the topics, I started thinking about feet. Mine, in particular, like massive Sasquatch entities without fur, are hard to miss. Suddenly, I had an epiphany! Feet are important extensions of our bodies and minds. If they are not rested or pampered properly, they get sore, swollen, and can even appear gnarly. You can tell a lot about someone by looking at their feet, the kind of life they’ve led, the kind of care they’ve given their bodies. The facts are plain, if we want our feet to carry us wherever we want to go, there is a hierarchy of learning to be had, dating from the beginning of our lives.
Baby feet are pudgy, with adorable little piggies waiting to be counted. But baby feet are worthless, unable to take a baby anywhere until muscles in legs and hips grow strong enough to support a baby’s weight.
A toddler’s feet help a child scurry across the floor from one activity to the next and it is up to parents to teach a child not to run too fast, too soon. Sometimes children have to fall in order to get back up and take another step.
‘Tween feet are usually too big in proportion to a child’s body. At the rate feet grow at this age, shoes are needed almost every 3-4 months. But, a child’s tendency to do too much can be curbed at this age easily enough, and heels, though doable in the future, are not in a child’s wardrobe… yet. And a ‘tween can’t drive anywhere… yet. A tween still relies upon teachers, parents, and peers to show the way.
Enter the teenager. (You thought I was going to say ‘Dragon’, didn’t you?) Teen feet grow as fast as lightning. Shoes are more expensive, coinciding with trendy tastes and peer pressure, a constant source of woe. Teen feet dance, run around race tracks, get stepped on in school halls, smell worse than a cistern, and have a tendency to put the pedal to the metal when parents and policemen aren’t looking, giving parents gray hair before their time. By now, feet have grown to their peak. The growth has stopped, learning to thrive and balance in heels begins.
Time passes. Days of late night dancing, barefoot summers, and shoes without arches become a thing of the past. Feet, like body counterparts, grow older, wiser, settling for ‘comfy’ shoes rather than suffering overlong in stilts when a shoe insert can belay the pain. There is less stress on feet when the mind is assured of a destination.
Feet, my friends, are a metaphor for a writer’s life!
A writer’s first love, books, is the vehicle in which a writer journeys into the imagination, leading a writer upon the road he/she was previously unable to walk. Out of the ‘walk about’, a writer is born.
Wobbly first steps lead to research and ‘how to’ books map the way. Soon a young writer learns how to run away with prose.
Wrong turns are taken, hands are smacked in contests or rejections, and still the young writer returns to the page. Like a toddler scurrying to discover new and interesting things, a writer is a glutton for knowledge and punishment, eager to meet like-minded souls and test boundaries, anxious to share ideas, and oblivious to anyone who doesn’t believe the book can be written.
In the first few years of a writer’s life, a writer builds a foundation, a career. Workshops, online classes, conferences, listening to other writers share their journey; these are things that appease our ‘tween’ writer, a writer who is eager to drive a successful career in the right direction... TO INFINITY AND BEYOND!
Behold the teen writer…
Look Ma, the shoe finally fits! And oh, what a spectacular shoe it is, (fill in the blank). Now a writer has found the right pair of stilettos, sturdy, balanced, fashionable shoes that will never be outgrown. (Chances are they will be replaced before the new wears off.)
This writer can drive a smooth and efficient plot, no training wheels, crutches or braces needed. With seasoned, athletically muscular legs, a writer races off to this conference to network with that author/agent/editor, and that workshop to present a class. The growing writer has excelled and nurtured a strong voice, exemplifying skill in keeping the prose fresh and intriguing, mystifying and enrapturing readers like J.K. Rowling did with the Harry Potter Series or Stephanie Meyer with the Twilight Series.
Settled into a rhythm and standing on a fashionably firm foundation, a savvy writer can now write one book after another, confident that the journey taken was worth the athlete’s foot, corns, bunions, and warts that now plague a writer’s feet. Remember there must always be SACRIFICE!
Didn’t think I could do it, did you? Feet ARE essential to a writer’s life. Decorative, worn, haggard, sore feet are the epitome of a writer’s journey. My feet may be big, but they have already taken me places I’ve never dreamed of reaching. Like my goal of becoming a published author, my imagination and my feet were created just the right size to lead me wherever I or my characters need to go.
Pamper your feet. They’ve been in training for you your entire life. Look at them with new eyes. You are where you should be at this stage in your life. But there’s still plenty of time left to let your feet take you where you want to go.
Birth. To the top! Success. Sacrifice. Standards good enough for any calling. Where do you want your feet to take you?