Monday, May 17, 2010


It's raining here. It's overcast. It's grey. It's dismal. I love it. For me, this is the PERFECT weather for writing. I THRIVE in this weather... unfortunately so does my rheumatism... which slows my longhand down considerably. On top of the rheumatism, I have a sick cat, work deadlines, ill horses, and finicky cars, all of which can be considered general vexations. They drive me nuts as I try to scratch out a word or sentence here or there around vet calls, census workers who stop by repeatedly, and older women who are living perpetually in their glory years... along with the horses who are now, in actuality, ancient. Yeah, it isn't easy trying to remind a woman that her twenty-nine year old horse is really like a seventy-nine year old woman, so breeding isn't such a good idea...

But while I've been languishing and wishing that I didn't have all of these various vexations, the seemingly obvious question arose of: What would I do if I didn't HAVE any vexations in my life? What would I do? Not much. I mean, I'd write, obviously, but beyond that... yeah, I wouldn't do much. Because, well, nothing would be amiss, right? There wouldn't be anything to vex me. There wouldn't be anything to battle against. Because everything would be perfect... and perfect is kinda boring, when you get right down to it. We NEED conflict, because without conflict, there's no structure to our triumph. I mean, if everyone can succeed because there's nothing stopping them, then what's the big deal with their success? This doesn't silence my muttered contrary curses as I shuffle my way through overturned trash cans and sit on cats in order to administer antibiotics, but it sort of makes the end result worth while, because there's something wildly satisfying about looking back and saying, 'I did this in spite of...' rather than 'Yep, I did that in five minutes and it took no effort at all' regardless of whether you're referring to getting a chapter plotted, a novel written or just cooking dinner.

And in honor of overcoming vexations to succeed vs doing something without any effort at all, I'm throwing in this picture. This is my sis, code name Fenris, holding a baby mouse in one hand and a jet-fighter barn swallow in the other. Tinsely, one of our lazy, fat. in-perfect-shape barn cats snagged the baby mouse. The swallow was taken right out of the air in a dramatic flipping leap by Pierre, our little black barn cat. The catch? Pierre literally has no teeth, and is in end-stage kidney failure, relying on I.V. fluids every day to keep him going. Now which one is more impressive? No-effort Tinsley, or overcoming-the-odds Pierre?

P.S. Neither the swallow nor the baby mouse suffered damage and both were released after the picture was taken. :)


  1. First, I love the word vexation. Secondly, I had no idea a mouse could be so cute. I've learned so much today. And for that I thank you.

  2. I'm so relieved that the animals were not hurt in the making of this photo! They are too cute to be hurt!!

    Wonderful post and wonderful points. It's very important to remember that at times we may not like conflict but it's what makes our life nice and strong and gives us struggles in which we need in order to succeed!

  3. Sometimes I feel like I get MORE done when I'm busy. Conflict really can be a good thing, right?

    And that mouse really is cute. The bird scares me though.