Flash in the Pan
A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights
by Sara Baker
A few days ago, my grandson stayed overnight. Since this was his first extended visit with his grandparents, I had plenty of food, DVDs, games, and puzzles available—including several connect-the-dots puzzles that I had cleverly downloaded from the Internet. Despite his hyper-active nature, I envisioned him faithfully and confidently connecting-the-dots demonstrating his knowledge of either sequential numbers or the alphabet.
So shortly after his arrival, we sat at the dining room table; I handed him a black pen and showed him how to follow the numbers and connect-the-dots. Initially, he was eager. However, after ten short minutes, he stopped, shoved his pen aside and exclaimed, "Where's the picture? I don't see the picture? Are you sure it's here?!"
Initially, I thought he doubted his knowledge of the sequential order of numbers, so I calmly replied, "You know your numbers, right?"
"Yes, but…but..." as his voiced whimpered and trailed off.
I returned the pen to his hand and irritably commanded, "Just connect-the-dots; trust that you know the numbers and make the connections. You'll see the picture soon; it'll make sense before you know it—patience, lil' man, patience!"
Indignantly he responded, "You don't understand! I wanna see the picture NOW and color it; I don't wanna wait!"
I was truly shocked at how quickly we both became frustrated. I soon realized that our frustrations were the difference between our expectations and reality. On one hand, he expected to quickly connect-the-dots, see the picture almost immediately, then color it. Because coloring was far more important to him than connecting the dots, he was frustrated.
I, on the other hand, expected to see his faithful execution and enthusiasm about connecting dots. Because connecting the dots was more important to me than his reality of coloring the picture, I was frustrated.
Then I thought back to a manuscript with which I was completely frustrated. Was the difference between my expectation and reality at play in this situation as well? As a writer, I frequently expect my manuscript to unfold long before I have allowed creativity, insight, and time to patiently connect the dots. Like my grandson, I grow impatient and want immediate results—-unwilling to simply focus and wait for the big picture to unfold. Thankfully, I am learning from my frustrations. Patience, writer, patience!
Sara Baker began her writing career as a teen, incessantly recording her thoughts and story ideas on scraps of paper, including the edges of math class notepaper. Recently retired, she works as a textbook editor and freelance writer. She enjoys exploring her creative thoughts and sharing those thoughts with others.
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