The wise, old owl sat on an oak.
The more he saw, the less he spoke.
The less he spoke, the more he heard.
Why can’t we all be like that bird?
We are a community of freelance writers, many who have other occupations and areas of expertise, as well.
“Looks like we all have shoe laces that are tied, untied and then tied together again, at some point in time!”
“Do I have to wear shoes, in order to be part of a freelance writer’s community?”
“No, course not. No one has to wear shoes, all of the time, silly!”
“Going barefoot can be fun too!”
“Sure it can, but dragons never wear shoes, do they?”
I recall trying to teach a four year old, handicapped child, how to tie his shoe laces, with just one hand. He struggled with the task, as the sweat poured from his brow, but he was not about to give up. He was determined to learn.
Suddenly, a wonderful expression came over his face, as he finally achieved his goal, after numerous, futile attempts.
“I did it!” he cried out, joyfully. Huge tears streamed down his face. He had finally conquered his dragon.
When his mother arrived a little while later, to pick him up, he looked at her and said, “You are not my mother.”
He turned to me and said, “You are.”
Shoe laces don’t seem to be very important to us, but when as a child, you can’t tie yours and every other child can, it is not much fun. It’s like having some unknown dragon that is tormenting you.
Freelance writing is an art, something that we have to learn, just like we have to learn how to tie our shoe laces, with one hand.
“Can you do that?”
Instead of writing freely, we are intellectually confined to compiling dictionary documents, collecting encyclopedia data and writing how to articles, on this or that topic.
We struggle and our creativity suffers, because we feel stifled.
Or perhaps as freelance writers, we find that someone else has our shoes laces tied too tight, in terms of publication guidelines or deadlines.
We desperately need to break free and untie our shoe laces, in order to write!
Learning how to tie freelance shoe laces is one thing, but learning how to untie them as freelance writers, is something else. Broken shoe laces are a pain, especially when you have a dragon to confront.
Have you ever seen someone walking down the street, with his or her shoe laces untied?
If you look around, you will probably see more than one person with untied shoe laces, particularly on a hot, summer day. Either they don’t know how to tie their shoe laces, like the child who had to learn the art of tying his shoe laces or perhaps they are simply too lazy to tie them.
Sometimes, their shoe laces were not tied properly, in the first place. Maybe their shoe laces were that slippery kind that really needs a double knot, in order to stay tied.
Meandering through life as a freelance writer, with our shoe laces tied or untied, one often finds that life flows just like a creek. It simply just goes wherever it wants to go.
“That is where the dragons hide.”
For a freelance writer, untying one’s literary shoe laces, taking off one’s articling shoes and soaking sensitive, writer’s cramped feet in the cool, refreshing creek, often relieves a lot of day-to-day stress.
What a wonderful way to spend a day, especially when you are with someone you love!
Perhaps just wandering down the pathway along the creek, is your preference?
Walking together with the otherwise, wandering shoe lace of one shoe, tied to the wandering shoe lace of another, is something that children love to do. It gives them a sense of friendship, togetherness and community.
As adults and freelance writers, with our metaphorical shoe laces tied together, we can walk in the same stride too.
“Left, right, left right…”
“Isn’t that a bit too regimented for you?”
“It’s way too stiff and formal for me!”
“The Wise Old Owl” is an English poem that is as old as the hills. It was used to keep children quiet in a classroom, so that they could hear what the stodgy, old teacher was saying.
“Be quiet and listen…”
“Hmm, that must have been really stifling.”
“Being silent sure beat having to wear the dunce’s cap.”
“But, now that you have listened carefully and accumulated all of that wisdom since your childhood, what are you going to do with it?”
“Maybe we should feed it to the other dragons, the ones who did not listen when they were kids?”
“Mine is only a little, green dragon. He’s not really very big or important. He does not eat much. He’s just my friend.”
“I have a big, green, lizard dragon, who loves to stand on his hind legs. He blocks every pathway, except the one that I am supposed to pursue. Remind me to tell you about him, sometime.”
“Mine is a praying mantis dragon. He sits on the window sill, at the university. I will have to tell you a story about him.”
“Anyone got a female dragon?”
“You mean a real, lady dragon friend?”
“Maybe like a childhood dragon, some girl you knew?”
Join or create a community of freelance writers. You will find dragons.
“Walk in stride and we walk together; walk out of stride and we fall down.”
That is life in its reality.
“Sometimes, it is not really our hands that are tied in literary time, but our feet.”
“Maybe it’s our minds?”
Perhaps as freelance writers, publishing on the internet, there are times when we feel that our hands are virtually tied and we cannot write? Maybe we feel that our literary voices are being stifled or smothered, in some way.
Walking as one community means that we walk together, as a community of two, three or more freelance writers. It also requires that we walk in stride.
Sometimes, we only want to run in opposite directions, take off our shoes and soak our feet, especially when the dragon-in-us is frustrated.
“Ever felt like that?”
“Where is the nearest creek?”
Any community can break down before it starts or even later on.
A community should not break down, just because someone needs some time or space. Everyone needs that untied shoe lace time now and then, both in terms of life and having a career, as a freelance writer.
Freelancers are just that. They are free, free to write and free to untie their shoe laces.
Fear often causes people to run from their own dragons or those of others, while love keeps everyone walking together, in stride, even though imperfectly at times.
Unknown dragons and fear can keep freelance writers in bondage, like that of someone with his or her shoe laces tied too tight.
“Love is that shoe lace that ties us all together, keeps us all walking in stride and brings out the best in each one of us.”
So, when you are tying your shoe laces every day, think about all of the other writers you know, with their individual dragons, doing exactly the same thing that you are doing.
Instead of just tying your shoe laces together, mentally tie one of your shoe laces to the wandering shoe lace of someone else, preferably that of another freelance writer.
“Just don’t tie it too tight.”
“You both may need to soak your feet, in the creek!”
The one who you tie your shoe lace to, can do exactly the same thing and tie his or her other shoe lace to someone else’s shoelace.
“You mean, take your dragon friend for a walk.”
“Walk with the other dragons, yes.”
“Walk together, in stride. Take life in stride, at the same time.”
This will result in a never ending line of wonderful, caring writers, who are legitimately tied together in community, but tied together with a shoe lace of love and respect.
Learn the art of tying your shoe laces with one hand, but use the other hand to untie shoe laces too, both yours and those of others.
Love that dragon in you and the one in others too!
Community is … (your definition?)