Slow and steady wins the race. How often have you heard that tortoise and the hare reference? I’ve lived with it my whole life since I have a fascination with shelled babies. And yet a tendency to go wild-hare trips me up too often. (Remember, I’m the one who almost stomped her own tulips.)
But times change and sometimes people have to as well. That’s how life shapes us. It’s shaping me.
Going rabbit may be my natural go-to, but I’m in time out. Why? I’m not certain, but Facebook put me in the holding tank so my book ads won’t be appearing in group chats for Kindle, Clean Reads, Sweet Romance, Christian Fiction, and/or any group that I don’t manage. Whatever will I do?
How about slowing down and eating some grass like Jonathan, the
Seychelles giant tortoise? Check out this long-lived wonder in the following video:
Well, maybe I can’t eat grass. Virginia isn’t St. Helena. My lawn is kind of brown considering we had ice and snow last week. But I’m back on my blog. Thinking, writing, and getting real with myself in between promoting FALLEN ANGEL and RODEO KING and penning my latest novel, Craving Grace: Diamond Dogs Book Two. (Methinks that title is a subliminal memo to yours truly.)
Anyway, here goes. Writer’s life lessons learned from Jonathan—the OLDEST animal in the world.
This too shall pass: Whatever your issues—writer’s block, Facebook jail (It’s no fun reliving life as a toddler, wondering “what” you did while being stuck in your playpen.), or fluctuating markets—IT WILL PASS. Either the situation will change or your response to the latest challenge will make it lose its power-over
- Make good use of your SHELL: Introverts often get a bad rap. But those with shells have them for good reason. A ready suit of armor is not to be wasted. It can protect you when you need it. Others will try to tempt you out of it–a fun exercise all around. But that shell can defend others as well, by demonstrating the quiet dignity of pulling back when need be and resetting in the mode of God’s good grace and timing.
EMBRACE routine: It’s okay to fall back on the structure of life’s rhythms to regain yourself and move forward. Jonathan, “typically spends his days lounging in the sun, munching on grass and relaxing with his tortoise friends,” according to MSN. A pretty dull routine and yet it has sufficed to see him outstrip his peers in the longevity department. At the ripe old age of 187 years, Jonathan’s oldest friend is 80-year-old “David” — a child by comparison–barely a twinkle. That brings me to my next observation.
DON’T discriminate. Toss the labels. Forget judging by covers (Although some cover reveals DO hook us!) True friends can be found everywhere, and in all age groups. As the youngest of eight, I always fit in with an older crowd, but my critique groups now include many young women. (Men, too. My Nick is 20 and gives me great critiques.) So keep an open mind, and an open door for friends to come in. Jonathan is so popular, “his portrait is on the back of the small island’s five pence coin.”
Follow the FOOD: Yes, I am a foodie. Can’t help it. My husband wooed me with his culinary skills, long story there, but the man knows the way to my heart. He surprised me with pizza on Thursday when it seemed my writerly world was crashing to bits. He’s cooking Eggs Benedict right now. (My husband is not the Grinch after all, despite his ditching my beloved mattress.) But, hey, Jonathan seems to agree with the wisdom of following what fuels you.
It’s often the simple things, something that’s everywhere in abundance that will get you through this life of writing. Family, friends, the quiet of your home, the routine of your 9-5 job. And there’s something to be said for following instinct, and God’s grace. Jonathan is said to be blind and yet,
“He knows my voice and he knows the vet’s voice and reacts by walking toward us,” Teeny Lucy (the chairperson for the St. Helena SPCA, and one of Jonathan’s main caretakers) said. “It’s all about the food!”
So what feeds you? Sustains you? What keeps you going through the long race that seems unending and fraught with show-stoppers? Find that rock and never let go. Storms will come, but they will pass. Thank you Jonathan…and all my FRIENDS and FAMILY who keep me going no matter what comes. I thank God for you all.