Wild Words . . . Photos & Fine Art

Co-creating by heart with sandy cathcart through writers helps and art info, focusing on all things wild.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Courage is an accident.

So says my husband, Cat, who is also well-known as The Cat Man in my outdoor articles.

Cat is a courageous man. He reacts faster than anyone I’ve ever known. When our house, which was tucked away in the wilderness with no running water or electricity, was burning to the ground, I grabbed our kids and headed for safe ground. Cat arrived an hour later while flames reached high into the sky and kerosene lanterns, rifles, and butane tanks pierced the air with explosions; he started grabbing things, rescuing several prized possessions. He swatted at the fire burning the seat of his motorcycle and moved it to safety, all the while knowing it could blow up at any moment.

That’s courage, and I don’t think it’s an accident.

What do you think?

Courage is certainly not an accident when it comes to having courage to write or create a work of art. It’s more a choice. We can either attack that blank page with a joyful thrill, or we can sit and stare at it until our eyes cross and we decide to go eat chocolates (or follow that herd of wapiti that’s been hanging around my forest yard).

On the other hand, perhaps it is an accident. What about the times we simply start writing words or begin painting, and we don’t quit until we have a finished product? We didn’t even think about mustering up the courage, we just went for it, kinda like an accident.

I love those times when the words just flow, or the painting totally consumes me. I usually love the end product as well . . . at least for a while. Then, when I look at it another time, it’s the worst thing I’ve ever written. Then another day, I’m back to loving it again. Goodness!

Tomorrow we’ll talk more about where and how to get courage. For today, let’s try the accident thing. Take ten minutes (don’t allow yourself more) and write a story using the four nouns and four verbs found below. You have to use them all in one story (no fair editing). This little exercise is to get your creative juices flowing. You can turn on the editor another time.

Nouns: shark, gondolier, mandolin; elephant.

Verbs: flipped; swaggered; galloped, exploded.

Now, write your story and be sure to share if you dare. I’d love to read it. The wilder the better. And don’t forget to give us your comments about courage being an accident.


At 8:20 PM, Blogger Sandy Cathcart said...

In case you might miss this in the wolf comments, I'm pasting it again here. It's a great story using the eight words above.

The captain of the cruise liner swaggered, or shall I say, staggered across the deck. His gate had nothing to do with the pitch of the waves. He whistled a sailor’s tune about pink elephants. So much for competence in our commander. About 15 minutes later, we all heard a kaboom! A boiler down below had exploded. The noise was deafening. The crew apparently had not been imbibing with the captain and their level of alertness was reassuring. They knew their areas and soon had us lined in rows on the lifeboat deck. Every passenger made it to a rubber raft, wrapped in a Mae West. Most made it to shore, though due to a panicked passenger, one flipped, and all its occupants drowned. My arms ached from the effort. How I wished I had that mandolin-playing gondolier driver to pole me across the shark-infested, endless seas. When we finally reached the shore, I couldn’t believe my eyes. There were the elephants our dear captain (now at rest in his watery grave) had sung about. I kid you not. They were pink. Did the dear man know something about where we were headed? Was that why he hit the bottle? Fear gripped me as about 3 dozen half naked men, about 3-1/2 feet tall, galloped toward the shore and our lifeboats.
“Oh mercy me” were my last words before I fainted.

At 9:53 AM, Blogger Garret Harrington said...

You have no Idea how much I wanted to edit this. Grr Sandy, grrrrr! :)

Nouns: shark, gondolier, mandolin; elephant.
Verbs: flipped; swaggered; galloped, exploded.

Ah, I am always very uncomfortable when it comes to timed assignments. Now I have to sit and write for ten minutes and use these eight words in a story. How on earth am I supposed to come up with a story using words like gondolier?

I flipped the page over and started to doodle, about a minute into my doodle I heard my wife laugh. Grrr, think Garret seven minutes left. I turned my paper over and started to write again:

It was a cold night; the lonely pirate swaggered down the dark African alleyway. His wooden leg slipped in something and he fell. His head felt like it exploded as it bounced off the cobbles. Shaking himself off he checked his mandolin, it was broken.

Casually tossing it aside he continued down the alleyway. He heard a noise and barely got out of the way as a horse galloped out of sight. This was not his day, it reminded him of the time he had to walk the plank and fight a shark. That was starting to bring back painful memories, so he hurried out of the alleyway and into a bar.

As he sat down he noticed a familiar smell. Looking down he saw something on his wooden leg. He looked at it closely and turned green as he recognized what it was, elephant poop.

I still have no clue what to write and now my time is up…

At 12:09 PM, Blogger Sandy Cathcart said...


Good for you! Awesome job. Looking forward to seeing more of your writing posted here.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home