This morning, as I gathered my things to go to school, I saw a flash of orange through my office window. I looked again, and smiled to see the fox trotting down what we call Main Street in the campground. Heading home from a night of hunting, I guessed. Instead of passing by, he turned toward my front yard, and stepped a paw on it, I gasped. He seemed to change his mind, backing off the lawn and continuing past our house on the other side of the hedge, toward our campground gate.
But where the hedge ended, he again turned onto the lawn. I grabbed my camera, which still had the big lens on it, and flew to the living room window.
And there he was, investigating under the bird feeders.
I really didn’t need that large lens, but I didn’t want to take the time to switch it out.
Click, went the camera. He turned my way . . .
What amazing hearing they have! He stayed for a minute or two, even came next to the house to sniff around under the bird feeder in the window. Again, when I snapped a photo, he seemed to look right at me.
Write the story, he seemed to say.
I knew what story he meant. His story.
But I shrugged it off.
Later today in class, the students were issued three writing prompts and told to choose one. Most dove right in.
Two did not.
I coaxed. I gave my best helpful tips.
And yes, I threatened to make them work through our read-aloud.
“Buuuuut it’s soooo hard!” One young man moaned. He was quite angry with me as he lives for the read-aloud.
“Yes, the first words ARE hard,” I explained. “Write anything, anything that comes to mind. And once you start, the rest will come more easily.”
“It’ll just be junk though!” He closed his ipad, crossed his arms and put his chin in his chest.
“You’re right,” I agreed, deciding honesty was best. “But you can delete what you don’t want once you get going. The important thing is to begin. Don’t be afraid of the blank page-”
I stopped talking mid sentence. All the students looked at me, waiting. Finally, I sighed, shook my head and laughed. I confessed to the young man how I’d been holding back from writing those first words too.
Then I thanked the class for teaching me something. I needed to follow my own advice.
I haven’t started a brand new project since 2011. Mystery on Pine Lake was complete when I sold it, and Mystery of the Eagle’s Nest was half done. Starting from scratch IS scary! And I’d been losing myself in fox research instead of taking a chance and writing those junky first words.
Well, it’s time.
Consider Book 3 officially started.