Monday, September 30, 2013


One cold morning a couple of weeks ago, Woki and I found ourselves surrounded by the college football team on their way to the Lake for an early swim. The air temperature was in the low 60s; the Lake not much above 45 degrees. More than one of the burly young guys muttered about the insanely early hour (which 7 am is to college kids) and the ridiculous chill of the Lake (they have something to complain about there, for sure).
As a little experiment, I decided to watch them from the bluff top. Call it schadenfreude or simply curiosity, I was intrigued by the various approaches the boy-men had in tackling (no pun intended) this sadistic requirement for team toughening. Some of the guys tippy-toed to the waters edge, testing carefully before forcing themselves in, inch by inch. Others ran full-tilt boogie like madmen, screaming all the way. In just a few minutes, it became apparent by the way they divested themselves of their shoes and tee-shirts how they would approach the water. The shirt-folders tippy-toed, the shoe flingers ran and screamed.
My eyes caught one young man pulling off his tee, dropping it casually on top of his shoes. He walked across the sand with a smooth, fluid pace, never wavering or changing his stride even as he reached the water's edge. Maintaining the same rhythm, he kept walking as if the water wasn't even there, until he was chest-deep in it, when he switched from walking to a smooth-stroke crawl. My first thought was that if I were hiring someone, this kid would be my choice. There was something not only deliberate in his movements, but confident. The kind of guy who would get the job done, no matter what the obstacles.
A good lesson for writers, too. Send out the manuscripts. Take the criticism and the rejection. Shrug it off and keep moving, even in the icy waters. Someone who thinks you're a cut above the rest might be watching.

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