Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins is used in classrooms to teach preposition phrases in an entertaining way. Rosie has to go around the pond, over the haystack, through the fence, and under the beehives on her walk through the farmyard.
I had my own lesson on prepositions this past weekend, as I went on a “walk” – not through a farm yard, but a muddy motor cross course. The Rugged Maniac race is a “5k obstacle course race that combines the most rugged terrain and burly obstacles to allow those with a sense of adventure to define themselves, then bask in glory…” (www.ruggedmaniac.com).
Rosie’s Walk may be about prepositions, and the Rugged Maniac may be about adventure and glory (and beer), but both the story and the race share an underlying message. Life is full of obstacles. And to continue on your “walk”, you must find a way to get past all those obstacles, whether it’s over, under, through, or around them.
Think of your writing life – what obstacles stand in your way?
Are there walls of your own creation, like the Wall of Self-Doubt; or are they real (your computer died, yet another agent rejected your novel, too many after school activities, not enough time)? I had to climb over walls up to 12 ft. high (not so easy for this vertically challenged individual). I had to get creative, use the posts holding up that wall to hoist myself up and over. You may have to get creative to get over your walls (use the computer at the library until yours is fixed, write during those 15 minutes before the doctor is ready to see you, get up a half hour earlier). Find a way. Get yourself over the wall. Keep yourself going.
Stay focused. It’s necessary, especially when you’re crawling under barbed wire in muddy water. Staying low also helps. And when you are on your hands and knees crawling through a tunnel of complete darkness, just persevere. You will finish that novel. There will be a light at the end. And another obstacle around the next corner…
Life is full of obstacles, full of mud – petty annoyances, dirty to-do stuff. Mud is messy. It’s there to slow you down, burden you. Keep your eyes open. Find higher, firmer ground, where not as many people have tread before. And suddenly you may find yourself racing past all the others stuck in that mud.