"Do not be concerned with the fruit of your labor.
Just be concerned with your labor.
The fruit will come of its own accord."
I asked her about the saying the other day and she said she thinks it's from the Bible. I looked up "fruit of your labor" and found many variations on Psalm 128:2. I like Wylie's version because it gets you focused on the labor and not the fruit.
But, still, how does that really work?
I wanted that $10,000. I wanted to win the big prize. This past week I threw my hat over the wall and told myself that no matter what I was going to make that deadline. Announcing it to you made it irrevocable. You can't talk about it and then not do it, right?
The strangest thing happened. Two weekends in a row I never left my house. I stayed up till 2am on work nights and wrote on lunch breaks and buses to and from work. I didn't watch the Academy Awards. Didn't go out except to swim. Didn't sleep. By the time I got to Sunday night I was mentally and physically exhausted, but I still had to finish the outline. In 15 years, I had never been able to succinctly state the plot to my magical book. Yesterday's deadline forced me to figure out what the most important elements were in the story I wanted to tell.
The strangest thing is: I feel like I already won the big prize. I found it in myself. I came up with answers to questions that were always lingering in my mind. Now I have a definite, practical, written purpose and plan that I can use over the next 10 months to finish the book. A solid first 50 pages and a beautiful two-page outline.
As for my photograph this week, I snapped it last Thursday before the storm. She did come back, and not only did she finish her nest she laid two eggs in it! I watched her movements. She'd fly off for brief periods during the cold rainy afternoons, but at night she'd hunker down as the cold wind blew and the branch shook. I wondered if she would survive the elements, if her nest would hold. I would go to the window when the wind blew up hard to check on her, and she was always there, enduring, solitary, steadfast, a little humming stalwart.