Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Telling Your Feet Only Half the Story

Photo by aussiegall.

I'm taking a class called Write a Children's Book through the South Africa Writer's College. It's taught by award-winning author, Helen Brain, and I feel like the luckiest woman in the world to be part of it. One of the things Helen wisely forces her students to do is to read a bunch of books for kids in the age range for which the student wants to write. For me, this has meant lots of books in the 9-12 year old range.

One of the books I chose was A Single Shard, by Linda Sue Park. Set in twelfth-century Korea, twelve-year old Tree-ear is an orphan boy who works for master potter Min. At one point, Tree-ear must make a long and difficult journey on behalf of his aging master and deliver two exquisite vases to the royal court in a city far away.

A few days before he leaves, Tree-ear confesses his worries to his old friend, Crane-man. What if I lose my way? What if robbers attack me? How can I possibly make such a long journey alone?

"It is so far away," he tells Crane-man.

"No, my friend," Crane-man tells him. "It is only as far as the next village. Your mind knows that you are going to Songdo. But you must not tell your body. It must think one hill, one valley, one day at a time. In that way, your spirit will not grow weary before you have even begun to walk." (A Single Shard, p. 93)

Are you weak and weary? Are you freaking out about the upcoming holidays? Or maybe you're worried about your health or that of a loved one? Try telling your feet only half the story. And may I suggest that you tell the other half to Jesus? Matthew 11:28-30 in the Message version of the Bible is a great reminder of what waits for you when you do.

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John Oscar Atkinson said...

Dear Heather,

You are lucky indeed. I was told writing children's books are the very hardest. Your selection read, A Single Shard, (L. S. Park) story rings true with wisdom. When I'm overwhelm it's because I'm looking too far ahead. That's true with my writing as well. I have a follow up book to write and I put one line down at a time . . . paragraphs make pages and pages make chapters. I tell myself I can improve something but I can't fix nothing. I tap the keys one letter at a time and not think about the end, the journey to my Songdo town. Thank you for this encouraging blog post. It has renewed my faith.

Best, Timekeeper

Paul Nichols said...

Well, I believe I'm going to enjoy your blog. I'm sure you'll have fun. Good luck and many blessings with it.

Anonymous said...

Good morning !
Loved this suggestion, I use this theory to survive work every day. Kind of like how eat an elephant...

Hope you are well and looking forward to additional blogs. I haven't blogged in quite a long time... I guess that means your just to busy, take care.


Heather Trent Beers said...

Thanks for stopping by, Tim! I'm hoping your job doesn't entail eating elephants.....at least not on a regular basis! :oD