Saturday, September 12, 2015


Hickory dickory dock. A mouse ran up the clock. The clock struck one - the mouse ran down. Hickory dickory dock. As a general rule, I'm not a big fan of mice... or rats... or gerbils--the live kind.

I'm also not a big fan of clocks--they're not my friend. I don't like them--worst invention ever, especially alarm clocks. Ick. Clocks document the passage of time as their hands tick-tick-tick in a circle. They also represent waiting and I'm not always the best at that. Of course there are various levels of waiting. There's waiting in line for two hours at Six Flags to ride a roller coaster. You know eventually you're going to get to ride the ride and it won't be too much longer that you have to listen to the people in front or behind you debate the merits of shoes with laces versus those with Velcro.

Then there's the waiting you do in anticipation of say, an exciting vacation. You cross off each day on the calendar as the trip draws near. You can see it getting closer and closer. The same is true of Christmas or your birthday. One day at a time and like waiting in line for the roller coaster, you know you'll reach the end soon enough and be on the beach or blowing out candles on a cake.

But the worst kind of waiting, the kind I'm not always good at, is the throw-yourself-out-there-and-hope-for-the-best kind. You've done something of a singular, independent nature and the final result depends on someone else's opinion. Skating is notorious for this. You train for years, getting up before the roosters crow to try, try, and try again one bruise-inducing move after another on a frozen slab of ice until finally you get the hang of them. You enter a competition and you skate your best--or you don't. Maybe you crash and burn all over the place. Maybe things are more 50/50, some success mixed with failure. However it skates out, the judges will decide just how well or poorly you did based on established criteria--and in their opinion. It's the latter part of this that causes people to scream at their televisions and boo in the stands when they feel a fan favorite is robbed of a medal or even simply a better score. When you're the athlete, however, waiting for the results can seem like an eternity. Time drags, like a pulse hooked up to a slow-motion machine.

Writing is like this, too, whether it be a paragraph written or a completed tale. There's waiting involved. You wait for an idea to sprout. You wait for the words for the paragraphs to materialize. Later, after you've revised and revised and revised, after you've re-laced and tightened your skate laces, after you've taken a deep breath and finally stepped out onto the ice and sent in the manuscript--you wait. And wait. And wait. Tick-tock. Tick-tock. The pulse of the wait slows, maybe even flatlines. You try not to think about it. Then, just when you think you can't wait another heartbeat, hickory dickory dock the scores are given and the judges announce you've won the Colorado Gold Writer's Contest--Romance category!