Monday, March 19, 2012

Living Dangerously

One room.
450 adolescents.
All armed to the teeth with deadly weapons.
Cue creepy music…
A new dystopian movie? The “Full-Belly” Games, perhaps?
No, just the way I spent my Saturday – enjoying the quivers and quiet of the Washington State Archery Tournament.
You see, my son tends to choose activities that force me to stew in my own silence (see chess post from March 8th). Archery is no exception. Unlike chess, parents at archery tournaments are actually allowed to watch. However, “watching” involves holding one’s breath and clenching one’s teeth for two solid hours. Seriously, I thought my eyes were going to take leave of my skull. But maybe that’s just me.
Okay, I'll admit it... I am a yeller. Give me a good ball game, and I will shout until I’m hoarse. Ask my daughter – she’s the basketball player.
I suppose all of my clamor would be perfectly fine, but sadly, the things that pop out of my mouth are not your garden-variety cheers. And having had five years of vocal training, unfortunately, I can yell loud enough to be HEARD. I tend to shout things like, “Keep your wits about you!” or “Way to go, IdaHO!” (when that particular state has nothing to do with anything happening on the field or court), or “That’s it Girly Swirl – give ‘em the old Grace-zilla!”. In my defense, that last one is specifically for my daughter who has curly swirly hair, goes by the name of Grace, and stands over 6 feet tall. To my mind, this is a perfectly logical cheer choice. However, by the stares I receive from those around me, I’m apparently the only one who thinks so. Sheesh.
Anyway, back to that “mom-quiet” sport of archery…
Since I had two hours of oxygen-deprived “meditation” during my son’s “flight”, I got to thinking about what it feels like to be an archer.  How you have to paradoxically marry fierce concentration with serene relaxation. How it’s necessary to keep a good grasp on your desired outcome, yet you have to let go in your attempt to get it. Then… missing. So, you refocus and try again… and again… and again, until your head and arms ache from the effort. And then… Ah… that sweet sigh when you hit the mark.
Archery… So much like writing. So much like art. So much like life.
Back to reality.
Forced tranquility notwithstanding, Saturday’s tournament was a lot of fun and quite a success for my son’s team – they brought home the silver (WOOT!)! Thankfully, all reports of dangerous possibilities were highly exaggerated. No injuries occurred, no dystopian novels were conceived, and the meet was largely uneventful…
Except for a moment at the very end, when a man grabbed my arm with the urgency of someone needing medical attention. He pulled me in close and said...
“You do know that you look like Sarah Palin, don’t you?”
I raised an eyebrow.
“I mean, people do tell you that, don’t they?”
No. Never. (Doppelgangers)

PROMPT: Stop, take a breath, and ask yourself – what is my bull’s-eye? What do I want to achieve with my art? A great hobby that brings me joy? Something that morphs into a career? A way of life? Any answer is the perfect answer. It is YOUR bull’s-eye, after all. Now pick up your pen, paintbrush, or laptop… focus… relax… and let it fly! (Metaphorically please – do not, I repeat, DO NOT throw your laptop!)


  1. I want to entertain people. ^_^ So glad I saw the announcement of your blog in the Chinook Update, Barb. Congratulations!

    1. Thanks, Angi -- for the comment AND the awesome blogging inspiration that got me into this crazy thing! ;-)

  2. Love this, especially the focus on creativity along with writing. Barb, you seem like an excellent candidate for the Creativity Coaching Association's certification program. If you ever want to talk about it, let me know. A therapist friend steered me to them years ago. Can't wait to see where this new blog leads you!

    1. Deb -- Thanks so much for your kind words! I would love to learn more about the Creativity Coaching Association, so I'll definitely be in touch.

  3. I want to be as good as my sisters. YOU ROCK B.

    1. How can this be, when you sing, act, write, AND film right past us every single day of the week (and twice on Sunday)?! You are the BEST, little b.