Hi, friends. Mae here with a post about patience, that elusive quality which frequently slips through our fingers. If you’re scratching your head, wondering who has time to be patient when a writer’s life is so demanding, slow down and have a seat.
Yes, we’re often flying in several different directions. Writing, editing, critiquing, engaging in promo, Tweeting, Facebooking…you get the picture. Multi-tasking isn’t a function, it’s a way of life.
With that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to Onyx, my beautiful black domestic shorthair. Sadly, I had to say goodbye to him early in 2012 when he passed away from cancer, but we had thirteen wonderful years together. During that time he taught me several things, foremost among them patience. Cats have an endless supply of that all-elusive, mystical quality.
A cat can outwait time.
Onyx had two favorite diversions (aside from the cat-popular sunbathing and sleeping): chasing shadows and stalking whatever colorful trinket I dangled in front of him. Crouched behind a piece of furniture, he’d wait with tail swishing for the precise moment to spring. And, trust me, there are only so many ways to make a neon green “twirly stick” festooned with feathers seem like enticing prey. I swear there were times when he must have waited for the planets to align!
I always thought I was patient, but Onyx showed me I’m reactionary at heart. Like most people I’m used to instant results. Whether I’m Googling information, nuking veggies in the microwave, or 1-clicking my Kindle for an e-book download, I rarely have to wait more than a few seconds. Technology is great, but it’s made me into a fidgety wreck when the world slows down. God forbid I have stand in line for a teller at the bank rather than use the MAC machine or my mobile app; get stuck with a slow internet connection, or be restricted from fast forwarding through commercials when using On Demand (who made that taboo anyway?). I remember when nuking a potato for eight minutes seemed like a godsend. Now it’s eight minutes too long. When did that happen?
I need to be more like Onyx. Slow down. Pause. Study. Appreciate.
I do it with writing, choosing just the right word for a snippet of dialogue or a passage of descriptive prose. I take my time. I listen to the music of the sentences and how they flow together. I don’t rush. I savor.
We live in a fast-forward world, and that makes it easy to get derailed. Sometimes we need to press stop and be the feline in the grass. My cat, the sage. He had it together.
We can be our most creative, even our most productive, when we’re not in a rush. Slow down, enjoy the day, and take a moment to savor all you’ve accomplished.
By the way, a month ago, I welcomed a new kitten into my home. Raven has boundless amounts of energy, and she’s proving to be a teacher too. She’s already taught me to take breaks when writing. Because as every good author with a cat knows, play breaks are mandatory. 🙂
When you need a break from writing, what do you do to unwind?