Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Doe, A Deer, A Female Deer

Sometimes you’re driving along, mind on a myriad of things you’ve got to do during the day, and something wicked this way comes. I’m not talking about the strange driving habits of drivers, women applying make-up, early risers grabbing breakfast, businessmen doing e-mail on iphones or blackberries, speed demons on crack or the slowest turtles on asphalt. I’m talking about images that stir your heart-strings, parents and siblings dropping their children off for school, elderly making an early day of it and driving into the city to shop, and gifts from God. You know them, the ones that jump out at you when you least expect it, like those who welcome stagnate drivers into the pack of traffic. And, I’m talking road kill. (Now if you’re a member of the Clampits, this would be a very pleasant gift indeed.)

It just so happens I'm not a Clampit. I passed skunks and raccoons today on the way to work, but had no such urge to stop and make Road Kill Stew. But what tugged my heartstrings was when I passed a deer lying dead in the median of the road, spread eagle on its stomach. Obviously, the doe had tried to cross the highway during the night or in the wee morning. Sadly, she only made it half-way across. So the obvious question I asked myself was why does a deer cross the road? This question may open up a truck load of jokes, but this poor deer got me to thinking. What was the deer after, better grass, water, bedding? Was the doe returning to her home from the wrong side of the road? Did she leave orphaned bambi’s in her wake? Better yet… what would life have been like had she not tried to cross?

Christine Glover blogged wonderfully about facing fear February 8th at: Digging Out of Distraction

Does the scenery change if we don’t look? Can our lives improve if we don’t make an effort? There are always things we can do to improve our lives. Self-help books cover bookstore shelves. How-to books and Idiot’s Guides supply the information society needs to tackle anything new/different. Do we dare ask ourselves whether we are we better off not learning?

Fear of growing, of stepping out and trying new things chains many of us to the basement. How do you break away from old habits? How do you summon the strength to move past something in your life that is holding you hostage? By simply confronting your fears head on. You might have the 'deer in the headlight look' at first, but given practice, you will become more nimble and better equiped to face every challenge.

I recently opened a fortune cookie that said, “Only the brave have fear.” This simple saying set me on a path of stepping out in faith. But even faith has its limits. What ifs have a tendency to carry the day. What if I don’t final in that contest? What if I get a rejection for this book I’ve poured my heart into? What if I never sell a book? And in keeping with Valentine’s month, what if I never find love again?

The answer is so simple it’s hard to see the truth. What if you never put yourself out there? How close will you be? What if you don’t try to get that luscious tall grass growing thickly on the meadow? You know the one you haven’t found a way to reach?

Will you sit down and salivate, dreaming of the rich texture of the grass within your teeth? Will you throw down paper and quill without taking a chance that someone, somewhere may ‘get it’ and enjoy the stories you write? You will never know unless you leap across the road or allow your stories to leap across the page. The only danger you have to fear is fear itself.

Channel the doe. Be nimble like a deer. Jump the road that blocks your path. Put fear in your rearview window. Fear has no control over you, over what you do or desire to do. Fear, in essence, is the car blocking your path, preventing you from reaching that 'thing' you want most in life.

What road have you been desperate to cross? Is there a ‘crick’ or a ‘creek’ in your way? Remember you can’t lead a horse to drink, but you can teach a horse to jump.


  1. Wow, Kathy. I don't want to be the deer that got hit because she wanted to cross the road. I do want to get to the other side but I also understand the fear of taking a chance. Even at my age I am still learning a lot of things about myself that I don't like. When I was younger I brushed those fears aside and plunged across the highway without even looking for that semi. As I have grown older and more experienced, I know that fear is a good thing sometimes- it preserves you. BUT it also hinders you. A Quandry. Learning from your fears and your mistakes is how you grow. I think I need to get back to some of that blind trust in yourself that makes you cross the road without looking. After all, nothing ventured is nothing gained.

    Great thought-provoking post. Thanks!!!

  2. Bravery isn't the absence of fear. It's the mastery of it. That isn't original.

    We can master our fear by doing our part to ensure success. Take pitching for example. We can't do anything about it if the editor has had a bad day, secretly hates a secret baby story, or get fired the day after she asks for a full. What we can do is prepare well, do our homework so we aren't pitching erotica to an inspirational editor, and arrive well groomed and on time. I think of that as looking both ways before crossing the road.

    I'm afraid of plenty: rats, medical tests, and getting lost. All that's irrational since I haven't seen a rat in years, I'm healthy as a horse, and nobody ever gets so lost they can't go home again. But I am not afraid of submitting my work. If an editor or agent doesn't like it, I guess I just think I'm saved from a bad match. Eventually somebody will. Meanwhile, Stephanie and I will do everything we can to improve our work, except for our voice. Can't do anything about that and don't want to.

  3. Great post, Kathy!

    I am sorry about the poor doe. I know what a moment of indecision or uncertainty can cost. Sometimes the price is too high. Sometimes the cost is well worth the risk.

    That said, I'm getting ready to jump across the road. I think my query letter is as good as it's going to get and still convey the necessary info. There might be one more tweak in me, one more moment to take a deep breath before finding myself in mid-leap. Guess I'll find out how good it is soon enough.

  4. Cheryl, I hope this post helps you find the energy to leap. Sometimes it's all about finding the right road you want to cross, isn't it? ;)

    Jean, you've got a great point about fear and staying true to yourself. There is a lot to be said about destiny. We've all heard writers talk about the way they were in the right place at the right time. Part of luck is being prepared. I just saw the movie THE MECHANIC yesterday with Jason Statham (Yummy!) and the character's mentor had a gun with this phrase engraved on it, "Victory Is In Preparation". What we can control is being prepared for whatever 'luck' or 'destiny' we meet.

    Crystal, you've worked really hard. Now take that jump and go for it! ;)

  5. I always fear being the dead deer in the road.

    I think she probably got caught up in the excitment of going somewhere and didn't follow the rules so she had to pay the ultimate price.

  6. You're a great rule follower, Stephanie. I don't see you having any problems with paying the ultimate price for something you wouldn't do, unless you did it the right way. ;)

  7. Kathy, I like to think that I am smart enough to find a way across the road without getting killed, especially if it was a life threatening risk. lol

  8. LOL! I can see that I phrased my earlier post wrong. Sorry, Stephanie. I meant that you are always so well-prepared for any scenario. There's no chance that you would get into trouble. You're going to do things the right way from the get go. ;)

  9. Once again we are all exhibiting our true natures ladies! Jean is philosophical, I am suspicious, Stephanie is following the rules and Kathy, well, Kathy is being artful. What a surprise...not. I am so glad we are all like this, it makes us much more interesting.

  10. I like to think of us as Sassy, Sexy, Suspicious and Simple. LOL!