“Slow and steady wins the race,” right? I was in grade school when I learned the lesson of Aesop’s The Tortoise and the Hare. I liked this story. I knew that the tortoise was better than the foolish hare, and I was even happy that he was the winner.
But I lived my life as if I were the hare. Because the hare was strong and fast, he could run when he felt like it. His do-it-at-the-last-minute skills (the bane of smart people) worked for him. Best of all, along the race route the hare was able to kick back and relax. What’s not to like?
Being the tortoise is just plain hard. The poor fellow plodded along, one foot in front of the other, hour after hour. It takes guts and determination to remain on-task.
Oh, I still run portions of my life along “when-I-feel-like-it” lines, but it’s not working well. (Case in point: house chores.) My ability to juggle multiple tasks and keep a running to-do list in my mind isn’t what it used to be. My fly-by-night last minute skills no longer cut it. I’m learning to plod along.
Writing is probably the most tortoise-like task I face because producing a novel requires staying at it. Or in my case, stopping and then starting again, day after day. Darcy By Any Other Name, in draft form, currently weighs in at 113,000 words. A testimony to the every day courage of the tortoise!
“A day may come when the courage of men fails…but it is not THIS day.”
– Aragorn (J.R.R. Tolkien)
Ah, but the hare has his moments. He rushes in and does the polishing work, putting the right emotional spin on each chapter. With his “feel-right” approach, he’s my go-to for dialog and sparkling banter. Best of all, he’s the one who will drop everything and meet a friend for coffee.
I can’t always be the tortoise, right? I’d be vacuuming and dusting instead of reading a book, and how dreary is that?