The Ant and the Ham
I love the word determination.
To be honest I’m surprised it’s not cemented on my blog with bright sparkly letters complete with a disco ball vibe. Then again, who needs polyester in this day and age?
But it hasn’t always been this way. After all determination comes with a price and the price usually involves achy muscles, grime and the occasional failure. Raise your hands if this your thing?
I’m seeing some hands. No cookie for you.
So what happened to me? How did I go from a happy semi-lazy person to one who is determined to have a published novel, to create better stories and to do what it takes to improve my skills?
Something changed my way of thinking and turned me into the person I am today. But what was it? Was it one thing or several? Did I watch a tragic documentary or experience something horrific. Well….not really.
I tend to avoid tragic documentaries….unless you count Super Size Me…and on the horrific end of things I tend to error on the side of caution.
So what happened?
Well, me being me I looked a little deeper. My mind took me back to the days of badly written short stories and problematic novels containing no plot. At the time I appeared to be quite proud of my less than average achievement. That is until the day I saw the ant and the ham.
I remember we were living in our first house. I lost the coin flip that day resulting in a late morning weed pulling affair.
It was a nice summer day in Western Oregon. 80-ish degrees. A light breeze and a cloudless sky. The beginning of summer was dipping her toes into another fun-filled season.
I remember breaking for lunch. A bag of chips, a ham sandwich and a nice cold pop. Out here we call it pop. You probably know it as soda in your neck of the woods.
I’ve always been a sloppy eater, especially outdoors. So it came as no surprise when pieces of ham and chips fell by the way side.
I paid little attention to the mess I made until a piece of ham, no longer than an inch, began to move. I remember reaching down to pick it up but stopped halfway. A strange curiosity came over me waiting to see how this played out.
Thinking about it now, bugs are pretty amazing aren’t they. We walk past them every day but how many times do we actually stop and watch them work? How many of you have actually spied a garden spider spinning her web from start to finish? Or a rain soaked worm dancing his way across the wet sidewalk.
No, youtube doesn’t count.
Besides, who has that kind of time? Well, on this particular weed pulling day, clearly I did.
I watched the little ant struggle mightily against a piece of ham that was far bigger than he would ever be. I watched him fail on numerous attempts as he tried to push and pull the giant hunk of meat to his desired direction.
For a moment he crawled on top as if he were surveying the landscape. I swear he looked up at me asking if I could spare a minute. Trust me, I would have declined if he asked. I was curious of his next move.
Realizing there was work to be done I started to leave but as I did the ham began to move. The little guy refused to give up.
I watched as the ham moved further and further away. He found a way to move it forward and dragged it into a crack in the pavement – (pun intended).
It was at that moment that I asked myself, if a little ant can find success through sheer determination why can’t I?
How many excuses, I continued, am I going to make up before I sit down and push that piece of ham…..or in this case, my writing into something worth reading?
In a way all you and I are trying to do is move a piece of ham. Sure, it may take all day, a week or a month….or in my case a whole damn year….but the bottom line is simple: Failure is not an option especially when you’re trying to move something big.
And if you don’t believe me just ask my little ham chomping friend.
For the ant it was all about survival but why shouldn’t our writing goals be the same?
So the next time an excuse comes crawling your way search for the hunger inside of you. Find your determination switch and when you do it won’t be long before it lights up your room.
Don’t believe me?
Try eating a bag of chips and a ham sandwich in your back yard. You will discover goals being achieved all around you.
Happy Friday Everyone!