Thursday, June 13, 2013

Patience and Persistence

It's one of those weeks that disrupts discipline. We all have more important things to do than we have time to do them, so it happens. So you step back a couple of steps, but if you keep going, you get everything done. Sure, it takes awhile. Longer than you want it to. Even when you control all of it, and face it - you never control the whole process of anything.

I took K, who is 9, to the Alamo yesterday and then we had trail mix and sandwiches in the water garden across the plaza and walked down the Riverwalk. I pointed out an old work place to her, and the plaque about Bowen's Island, and this reminded me of B. She was my friend while I worked in that place, even though she was an executive and I was five years in an entry-level position. I'd temped under her and we talked about writing and she was partly responsible, I think, for my getting the entry-level position. It wasn't her fault I wasn't cut out for a day job. She did a lot of work gathering information on the history of the site, including collecting some artifacts uncovered during work that was done on the building during the time we were there. She wanted the company to put out a booklet, but they would only let her put together a display. It was frustrating for her. She also wrote fiction, and wrote well, but there was a disjunct between what she wanted to write and what a publisher would be willing to take. That sort of thing happens a lot.

Anyway, we walked on past my old workplace to the Tower Life Building, which K has often admired and of which she'd like to go to the top, which isn't happening. However, I took her on inside so she could see the lobby, which looks more like a little church than a lobby, and where the old brass mail chute is still in use, and the man at the front desk gave us a stapled handout with the history of the site on it.

I recognized it. B's name wasn't on it, but it had been based on her work.

She had other things going on in her life (including the illness that killed her) and made choices that resulted in her never writing for publication; and the decisions of other people prevented the full realization of the potential of the writing she did at the junction of her professional and her creative life. But the work was out there. It kept going.

We stand tall on the shoulders of giants; we also stand tall, and enable taller standing, if we form part of a pyramid of short people.

That's how the world works.

Patience and persistence are easier when you internalize that. At least, I find it so.

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