Wild Words . . . Photos & Fine Art

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

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Let's not mistake foolishness for courage.

That’s another line from The Cat Man. To be more precise, it usually goes something like, “Let’s not mistake foolishness for a death wish.”

Speaking of which, let’s talk about that wolf photo. If you haven’t seen it, scroll down to January 12 and take a look. On the morning of the photo, Cat left me with the parting words, “Don’t do anything foolish.”

“Who me?”

He rolled his eyes.

I honestly didn’t plan to do anything foolish, it just happened. A friend invited me to help out at a facility (which I will not name) that works with injured wild animals to ready them for return to the wilderness.

My friends don’t call me an animal magnet for nothing. Every animal in the place took a liking to me. The grizzlies kept dancing for my cooing, the mountain lion kept staring into my eyes (was that love or looking for dinner?), and the wolf thought I was absolutely wonderful—and tasty—he kept licking my face. I couldn’t resist him…or her…I didn’t stop to check. I didn’t stop to think either. I simply went on impulse. Impulse and foolishness are kinda like synonyms. But I have a very good angel who understands my unique personality. He’s always a step ahead.

After viewing the photo, I realized that my impulsive act was probably the very thing Cat had meant when he said not to do anything foolish. Oops!

What if that wolf suddenly decided he didn’t like me so much after all? What if I still had jelly on my face? What if he was having a bad day? Would he have licked? Or would he have chomped?

Now, I’ve been honest with you about my “courageous” act of petting a wolf. Honesty is more an act of courage than my act of petting a wolf. Honesty is also something that is sadly missing in a lot of today’s writing and art.

As a nonfiction writer, I must be honest enough to show my failings along with my achievements. I can say I’m fearless, but that would be a lie, even though I do a lot of things that make me appear to be fearless. When I’m writing about others, I need to honestly portray their process of reaching their goals. I don’t need to uncover every dirty secret, but I do need to show some of the warts.

As a fiction writer, my characters need to be able to reveal their true identities. If they’re impulsive like me, then I need to show the results. If they’re courageous like The Cat Man, then I need to show his true inner feelings . . . that he believes his courage is an accident.

As an artist, I can either take the courage to paint the things that thrill me, or I can wimp out and paint what sells. Of course, it’s wonderful when the two go together. It takes a lot of courage for an artist to say when the painting or drawing is finished. I’m often tempted to let someone else be the judge of that. It’s wise to take good counsel, but it’s also wise to not overwork my art.

Courage is there for the taking, right when we need it. Tomorrow we’ll talk more about how to take it.

Don’t forget the fun writing exercise in yesterday’s posting. I’m still looking for some wild stories to be turned in!

Happy Valentines Day!


At 11:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I have a very good Angle." How very true. The death of a loved colleague this past week, Sent my brain into hours of reason. Why him? He was always careful. I got away with the same dangerous diagonistic procedeure ,on the same kind of truck, for years. Human reason found no logical answer. Thru Supernatural reason the answer came "I have a very good Angle." With A very good BOSS.

At 12:28 AM, Blogger Sandy Cathcart said...

Yes! Our very good Boss protects us with some very good Angels until it's the perfect time for us to go.

I'm so sad about your colleague, though. Even Jesus wept at the death of loved ones. It's painful for those of us who are left here.

I took my youngest daughter aside last year and reminded her of a lot of the foolish things I've done and the many close brushes with death I've had. We both agreed that when I do die, it will definitely be my time to go.

I will be praying for you this week.

Another thing . . . I had a friend who died a few years ago, and at first I was angry with God for taking him home so soon. He had a young wife and children and he was at what looked like the peak of his artist and writing career. But over the weeks, I realized that he had finished everything God had given him to do . . . and I actually felt jealous that he got to be with His Creator before me.

Looking up!


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