One day an old man was out walking when he noticed a child standing by the side of a stream. The boy stood there for over an hour, shifting from leg to leg, fidgeting, sighing, and staring at the water.
“Why do you gaze so long and so impatiently on this stream, child?” the old man asked.
“I want to get across it but I don’t want to get my feet wet,” the child said. “So I’m waiting till the water runs off and the ground dries up.”
The old man (who quickly realized the child was a dimwit and took pity upon him), said kindly, “You’ll be waiting your whole life then, child, for this stream never stops. Unless you want to follow it out to the sea, you’re going to have to wade.”
And the moral is: Don’t wait for the impossible.
That is a good old tale. But if Aesop were a modern slave to the written word, he might have called his fable, The Writer and the Busy Life:
“It’s about a lovestruck pygmy shrew who eats a magic root that turns him into a handsome human prince,” the writer said. “He scorns the vacuous world of humanity’s rich and famous because all he wants to do is get back to his tiny shrewish bride-to-be.” The writer was giddy with excitement as she added, “I’ve got all the characters figured out and all the scenes planned. It feels like the whole book is alive in my head!”
“Why don’t you start writing?” the editor asked. (Being an editor, he felt that butting into the conversations of aspiring writers was not the least bit rude.)
“I need a few months of free time to devote myself to the project,” the writer said. “I don’t want to jump into it and then have to jump back out to go to work or taxi the kids somewhere. And of course there’s Christmas baking to get started, plus I’ve got my mother coming for a visit and I’ve started a new pilates session on Saturdays. I’m way too busy. It’s better to wait till I have a big chunk of free time without interruptions and then I’ll be able to write a really great book.”
The editor (who quickly realized the writer was an optimist and took pity upon her), said kindly, “You’ll be waiting your whole life then, child, for this stream never stops. If it’s not work or family, it’s vet appointments and emails. Unless you want to watch your story wash out to sea, you’re going to have to set aside at least three hours a week for this book and defend that scheduled time from all the forces that’ll try to take it over. Good luck.”
And the moral is: Time to write cannot be found; it must be taken.
And that’s my Friday fable. Now go ahead and get your feet wet. Start writing your story today.
Or you could procrastinate by reading about pygmy shrews and how to help them on the Wildscreen ARKive website (where that adorable shrew picture is found).
Have a great weekend.