Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Make Hay While the Sun Shines" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (03/06/08)
TITLE: On Strike
By Shelley Ledfors
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I peer out the window for any sign of his approach. Out of the corner of my eye I catch a glimpse of movement, so turn my full attention toward it. Nope…not him. It’s only the neighbor’s cat. She saunters into the driveway, flops on her side and stretches herself out to what looks to be the length of at least two cats as she absorbs the warmth from the pavement.
Unable to stay still, I go out back to vent my frustration among the flowers. I watch for him while I work. I never really know where or when he‘ll find me. Sometimes it seems he shows up only after I have all but given up hope.
He does not come to my back yard.
On the bright side, this work’s not a total waste of time. My life will be ending soon if I can’t meet my deadline, but at least I’ll leave this earth with a tidy garden.
Okay, so I can tend to over-dramatize a wee bit. But, hey…it’s what writers do.
Maybe if I go inside and try working on the assignment he’ll show up. …Yes, that happens sometimes!
I brew a nice cup of tea and settle myself in front of the computer.
I sip the tea. …No ideas.
I place my fingers on the keyboard. …And stare at the blank monitor.
Maybe if I just start typing something--anything--I’ll be inspired.
Aa Bb Cc …Still idea-less.
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. …Hmmm. Starts right out with action. --But has nothing whatsoever to do with my subject.
Maybe another cup of tea will help. I trudge into the kitchen. And lo and behold, there he is at last…sitting at the table.
“Finally! Where have you been? What do you have for me?”
Wordlessly, he leans a picket placard against the table.
“Come on. A muse can’t go on strike!”
“Oh, really?“ He folds his arms across his broad chest. “I suppose that goes along with how we always take the form of willowy females in flowing robes?”
I lift my chin defensively. “Well, you’re my muse, and if I want to picture you as a kind of angelic Tom Selleck, that’s my prerogative!”
I catch a hint of dimples as his dark moustache twitches slightly before he clears his throat and assumes a serious demeanor once again.
“So, just why you are on strike, anyway? It’s not like you’ve done any work on this project!”
“And why is that?”
“What do you mean?”
“Do you remember when I came over on Thursday? You said we’d talk after you finished your computer game. I left an hour later and you didn’t even notice.”
“So I came back Friday. You were chatting on the phone. I knew you had this deadline so I waited an hour and a half that time. And, let’s see…yesterday you left me here for almost three hours while you went shopping. So, tell me why it is that you’ve been grumbling today about me being late?”
“I know…I procrastinate. But you will help me meet this deadline, won’t you?”
He leans forward to tap the placard then returns to his former pose, avoiding eye contact as he feigns a sudden interest in the refrigerator.
And so he remains the rest of the long day and evening.
Finally, with no hope of completing my assignment, I head to bed. Obviously, a conversation with the true source of my imagination and inspiration is in order.
“Why is this happening, Lord?” I groan.
Remember your prayer last week?
“You mean the one where I asked for wisdom in choosing priorities and greater self-discipline for better use of my time? Great. This is another one of those ‘Be careful what you pray for’ things, isn’t it?”
We laugh, but the message is loud and clear.
Morning finds my muse at the table where he‘d been the night before…minus his sign. Although glad he’s still here, I must admit to being miffed at the role he’d so willingly played in my necessary--but painful--anti procrastination lesson. That is, until he looks up with that disarming grin and begins to share his ideas for my next project.
Besides…he’s just too cute to stay mad at for long.
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