I’ve always wanted to run before I could walk: as a young lad on an unsteady bike; as a teen with my driver’s permit behind the wheel of our family station wagon; as a newbie carrying my surfboard into the pounding waves for the first time, or picking up a guitar and curling my fingers around an awkward chord, or, this past week, clipping in for some clumsy cross-country skiing.

Instead of acknowledging the fact that only with sufficient practice comes adequate skill, I’ve often expected to see amazing results after the first few fledgling attempts. I know I don’t have a God-given aptitude for everything I set my mind to; but when I’ve figured out something in my head and understand how it’s done, I’m frustrated when my body doesn’t agree.

Teaching jr. high has been a learning experience. Half the time, my students seem ready for high school; the rest of the time, they act like they should repeat kindergarten. I can’t assume they will remember something we discussed the week before—much less the day before. The hormones screaming in their ears make it difficult to hear my delightful discourses on the wonders of figurative language. I have to adjust my expectations.

That’s what patience is all about, Charlie Brown. It’s a waiting game. As is the writing process: create, revise, edit, submit . . . and create something else in the interim. Wait some more. Write some more. Keep checking the inbox, month after month, for that fateful acceptance letter.

Next month, one of my short stories will be published for the very first time. And I can’t wait. A Fly in Amber purchased it for their January issue; but since the November issue came out a little late, I know that patience will, once again, be in order.
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