So it was with reflection on the past and my eyes fully on the present, that I made this journey to see my son, and, through it, learned how far I've come as a writer. Yes! Yes! You knew it was coming. This post will relate to writing. You know how I am. ;)
Observe the early writer in all her glory, eager to face the hazards of the written word, ready to embrace the road to publication with nary a concern.
Resplendent with thick luxurious fur to keep her warm on long winter nights of endless writing, she's armed with horns to stave off the critics and those who laugh off her first drafts.
Oh, magnificent speciman! How valiant you appear!
It isn't long, however, before the harsh realities of writing, critiques, contest results and issues of self-worth reduce our valiant novice from magnificent Buffalo to reluctant Prairie Dog with an urge to dive into the nearest hole. The muse has unleashed a torrent of abuse. "You'll never get published." "You're characters are unsympathetic." "You will never be able to show your face in public again!"
Such is the life of a writer! Enter the coon stage...
Our lonely, troubled writer becomes nocturnal in her efforts to create the best written work since J.K. Rowling. She hides her precious gem from the world, building bridges all the while that will help her make it out of the dark. She attends conferences, takes online classes, doing everything she can to hastily but lovingly build the dam that will hold back the forces of fate and hate.
After a time of solitude, she emerges once more, only now she's developed a thickened skin. No more the frightened Prairie Dog or nocturnal Raccoon, she is now the Armadillo, able to roam during the day and contend with nightly visits by the muse. Here, our writer excels, often dreaming of the day when her tomes will resonate with editors and agents. Now, she can clearly see herself receiving The Call.
Yes! At last, our lovely writer has aged well. No longer hiding her talents, she ventures forth out of the tunnels to channel her strengths and pass them on via mentoring to the young and hopeful walking in her very shoes.
Oh! But the road to fame is littered with bull. And, even though our glorious writer has endured the worst of times, and the stenchest of fumes, she must now find a way to keep the barbs of ongoing criticism and angst from decimating her flesh.
From courageous Buffalo to Prairie Dog, Raccoon, Armadillo and back, our writer takes up her yoke, doing it all again, in order to win the day. Like one of the creatures on the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, life goes on. Our writer takes up her pen, taps on her computer, plots and brainstorms, living in and out of darkness for love of the written word. Stories are like nature. They come and go, some swiftly upon a storm, others gently like a soft rain or nurturing as the warmth of the sun. Though the process repeats itself over and over again, there is nothing finer than the knowledge that life, and the story, lives on.
There are plenty of dangers in the wild, rattle snakes, buzzards, copperheads, coyotes, and wolves. But there are dangers everywhere. Don't let your heart get caught in the vise of a snake.
I'm proud of my sons and my future son-in-law, who have commited their lives to serving our country. And I'm grateful for the time I recently got to spend with #3.
Are you a Buffalo, Prairie Dog, Raccoon, Armadillo or is the dung so pungent you can't tell the difference? Tell us what stage of life's journey you're in.