Patience is a Virtue. All good things come to he who waits. Patience is bitter, but it’s fruit is sweet. I take value in moving at the speed of light. More things get done. I make more of my day. I am productive.
I am the person groaning in agony at the drop off lines at school. Why is the backpack in the trunk? With my kids in the backseat, primed and ready to dart as soon as I said “goodbye,” I used to shriek as parents slowly got out of the car to retrieve their child’s backpack from the trunk, slowly unbuckled their seatbelts, slowly kissed them goodbye, holding up the line while they waved until their little ones safely entered the building, while I slowly lost my mind. I’ve nearly screamed as I waited at an ATM behind those who not only searched endlessly for their bank cards, but upon receiving their cash, carefully scanned their receipts and counted their money. I will myself not to beep in the toll lane, (You honestly just realized you needed money to pay the toll?), not to tap my foot at the self serve check out at Stop & Shop, where people, who’ve never used self-check out, inevitably decide to try it for the first time the day they are in line in front of me.
Some may say the universe is trying to teach me to slow down. Or, as I like to believe, perhaps it is my calling to help others to hurry up. I’ve scraped the top of my car rushing into the garage as the super slow automated door creaks open. I finish the sentences of my family, and make the universal hand sign for hurry it up, when they tell long winded stories. I walk fast, read fast, speak faster. I have cursed, screamed, beeped, sped myself into a frenzy.
And where exactly am I rushing to? Nowhere in particular, I just don’t like waiting. I’ve tried counting, meditating and prayer to no avail. And now I’ve found this impatience extends to my writing. When I sit at my desk researching, writing, revising, I am so easily frustrated by the process. Why won’t the ideas come, the words, the next line…? The life of a writer is a life of waiting. After waiting for characters, and plots to develop from thoughts and words, another kind of waiting begins—waiting for comments back from editors, waiting for revisions, for contracts, the first advance, the final advance, the royalty check, the next book to be released….
Once, on our way out the door to a function, my Bostonian mother told me that I’ve become “very New York,” . There was a time in my youth when I would have taken that as a compliment, but I know that what my very polite, well mannered and patient mother really wanted to say is that “too New York” can be translated to mean, too impatient and crass. I may always be in a hurry but I still take time to read between the lines. “Hmmm”, I said, pretending to ponder her words. “You ready to go?”
For me, summer is a slow down month of lazy days and warm, lingering nights. The heat makes me too tired to rush. It is the time when I most want to live life at a snail’s pace. I recognize that I need the patience of finding a story, of letting the seed of that story blossom at it’s own pace.
“I think when you’re trying to do something prematurely, it just won’t come, writer Joyce Carol Oates once said, “Certain subjects just need time…You’ve got to wait before you write about them.” Perhaps that has everything to do with the quality of her work. The work I strive to do as a writer. And now, with summer and stories in full bloom, I impatiently wait for patience.