Wednesday, May 20, 2009


A member of my writing group tells a long-winded story about a jackass and his master trudging through the desert. She keeps repeating the same lines over and over as a test of her listener's ability to wait for the punch line. Even the most polite member of her audience finally gets itchy and tries to hurry her toward the finish, and of course, that listener IS the punchline when he or she has the repeated line pointed toward him/her: "Patience, Jackass, patience."

I try. I really try to be patient, to wait humbly and silently for the group to finish their individual read through of novel number two. I work on other projects, read, or considering the season, garden. So far, I've planted ten oak trees (mostly because they were gifts from the forest service), two dozen Impatience, an Astrbilis, three Azaleas, twelve tomatoes, an equal number of pepper plants, four rows of beans (Blue Lake to be precise), and six rows of potatoes. I've read four short stories, all rather lengthy, and now I'm starting on a Stephen J. Cannell mystery (I won the book in a poetry contest. First place). Tomorrow? I'm dying my hair red....again.

See....patience isn't easy even when your brain keeps telling you it's all part of the process. Some time ago, I blogged about how the writer is very much like the hero in Shawshank Redemption, how we've all got our little rock hammer pounding against that concrete wall. I thought myself very wise when I wrote that, and now, I have to return to my words over and over again in order to reaffirm my own advice.

Only one pack of cigarettes remains in my carton, a carton that I promised myself would be the last. I'm sweating. After I plant the rest of my Impatience tomorrow and dye my hair, I'm sure I'll head off to the tobacco store to get the next "last" carton.

No one, and I mean NO ONE, is immune from worry. Although 'worry' is totally non-productive and, to the best of my knowledge, has never resulted in one, single accomplishment, we all do it. I worry about people who claim they never worry. I worry about the length of my dog's toe nails. I worry about the cat, the garden, the grandchildren, my truck. Now, I worry about that 120,000 or so words of mine that rest in the hands of my writing group.

The late Rita Riddle, my friend and fellow poet, once confided that she worried, too. She said that her poems were like her children and submitting one of them was like putting her five-year-old on the school bus for the first day of kindergarten. She knew what she had when she put the child on the bus, but she never knew what she'd have when the child got off the bus at the end of the day. Editors edit, and so do members of a writing group. It's all about trust. I trust my group, and I must trust that they will all operate in my best interests. They haven't failed me so far, so I've got the hair dye waiting in the bathroom and the shovel and gardening can are already by the flower bed.

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