Kim Watters here. We’re on vacation at the beach a few weeks ago, in Rocky Point, Mexico. That in itself is another story, and not for the feint of heart. So, my daughter and I are out early in the morning hunting for seashells, minding our own business when we hear a scream.
Being curious souls and realizing there is no one else on the beach except us and two other ladies, my young daughter and I go to investigate what the ladies are pointing at on the sand. At first we didn’t see the two gelatinous globs of brown speckled things with eight arms until we were almost on top of them. I immediately conjured up images of fried calamari and had a hard time reconciling the two. Not that I for a minute thought about the possibilities of dinner that night.
Anyway, these poor creatures got washed up with the rough tide the night before and were at least twenty yards from sea. Hmmm. We can’t just leave them there, so one the other ladies took her hat off and was trying to douse them with water. Each time she did, their heads would enlarge and the blow hole would go off. Really creepy.
So now there are four of us standing around pointing at these octopuses trying to figure out how to get them back into water. I certainly wasn’t going to touch the squishy, filmy, slimy things. The hat wasn’t really working at holding much water so I *gasp* sacrificed my coffee so we’d have a cup and a much better way to keep them hydrated while we put our heads together. Finally I realized I was holding a bucket full of shells.
Tada. I dumped my shells into my daughter’s bucket and scooped up the poor fellow and ran with him to the sea. I waded into the surf, put the bucket in the water and turned it over.
I’m sure by now you’re shaking your heads. That’s right. Everything but the octopus spilled out of the bucket. Our hapless friend has suctioned himself to the bottom. Great. I already broke a glass the night before, now I’m going to have to e-mail the condo owner that his bright, red bucket has been sacrificed to Poseidon to save the sea life. (Of course we still have the other one to deal with, too.)
Fast forward to the security guard at the resort. I’m sure the last thing he wanted to do before he got off his shift was get his shoes wet prying an octopus loose, but Luis was a real “hero” about it. He finally managed to convince our friend that he was safer in the tide pool than with a big stick poking him in the head.
Number two went without a much suction at all.
So what does this have to do with writing? Aside from a story scene? Desperate conservationist and hungry, hunky security guard? Double hmmm.
How many of you have felt like our poor octopuses, trapped in unfamiliar territory and in limbo? You can see the ocean or the publishing contract, you just can’t figure out how to get there. How many of you have felt paralyzed with fear about submitting or finishing the book, or even decided to start writing, and suctioned yourself to the bottom of a bucket? You’re safe for now, but outside it’s a big people eat octopus world.
Relax, there are always people willing to help you along the way, be it us beach combers or God, or your writing friends, critique partners, family, agents or editors. We’re all in this sea of life together. We’re all God’s children, whether we have two legs or eight. So what are you waiting for? Get out of the bucket and live. What’s the worse that could happen?