Monday, July 28, 2014

Be a Boy Scout about Your Writing


A white-tailed fawn born in June.
It jumped into our large window well.
Such a pretty baby! 
The motto of the Boy Scouts of America is “Be Prepared!” This holds true for writers also. The other day I rounded the corner of our house to find that a newborn white-tailed deer had jumped down into a large window well and could not get out. We had this happen before and were prepared. We knew not to touch it as human scent will make the doe reject her fawn and the baby will starve. We had a lost fawn in the neighborhood a year or two ago. People tried to reunite it with its mother but had neglected to wear gloves. The mother rejected her baby because of some anomaly or because humans had touched it. The fawn bleated several days for its mom and for food before finally lying down on our front lawn too weak to continue the fight. It died an hour or so later. The mother of this summer’s fawn had not abandoned her fawn. We saw her walking slowly and watching us from across the street. She knew where her baby was but was helpless.
The air conditioner unit is about 4.5"' high
He or she is so tiny. It will gradually lose the white spots

Several men who were installing replacement windows tried to help my husband by providing a ramp hoping the fawn would use it to climb out. It (she? he?) would have nothing to do with that plan. It tried to jump up onto a middle concrete tier several times but could not get its back legs to hold. Bob moved to one side of the well to encourage it to try again. After two more attempts, the fawn was able to stabilize itself on the middle landing and then jump the three feet to the grassy area of our lawn. It  bounded off joining its relieved mother.
Fawn successfully getting the courage to jump up the
second concrete tier of the window well and escape
Very brave for such a little one new to this world.

There are two lessons for writers here. The first is to be prepared as you never know when a story idea will present itself. Keeping writing supplies on hand (in a purse, pocket, car, boat or bicycle pack) will let you record thoughts while they are fresh in your mind. You can jot down details, emotions and possible story lines for future reference. With the fawn, I was at home and had a camera so I could document events as they happened. Carrying a camera as well as paper and pencil is a great asset to writing your story later. You can capture the scene exactly. Magazine editors love to have accompanying pictures to validate and illustrate your story.

The second lesson is patience. The fawn displayed patience despite being afraid of its situation and the humans around her. Her mother showed the same as she waited helplessly for her baby to return to her. My husband exercised caution and patience while encouraging this wayward fawn to jump higher than it thought it could. Writers need patience to develop their story ideas, to write, to rewrite, to submit and then wait for a response. Hurrying is not in the writer’s favor. Patience is.

Practice the Boy Scout motto - “Be Prepared!” - if you want to think of yourself as a writer.

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