This is a strained metaphor in poor taste, but y'all KNOW I can't help myself.
So two weeks ago, I was walking home from work, reading (as usual) and not really paying much attention. The day before in the same spot (I remembered after the fact) lighting had downed a big branch. I'd stopped to assess the two squashed cars and people standing around saying, 'this sucks!' as having your car squashed by a large branch does INDEED suck.
Now in my defense, I WAS paying enough attention not to walk into that downed branch the day before... but when everything had been cleared away... well I only have so much attention to spare... so I stepped on a stick. No big deal, right. Stick, schmick. WRONG! The stick was curved and forked and obviously EVIL. It popped up and positioned itself so that it could IMPALE my calf!
Last week my boss, who normally works in another building and had been on vacation for a week to boot, saw this and freaked out. Had I seen a doctor? Had I used hydrogen peroxide to clean it? Did I want her to call me in a prescription for anti-biotics? No. No. and No. The hydrogen peroxide WOULD have been a yes, if we HAD any, but there was none. Soap and water had had to suffice. But a DOCTOR? Anti-biotics? For an (admittedly ugly) wound that is no worse that say... a skinned knee?
My boss, the MD, puts great stock in MEDICINE. The Tart, a nudist, naturalist, and environmentalist, sort of thinks sometimes it is best to let nature take its course. I'm not STUPID. I get my tetnus shots when they force me—which would be, I think, the only infection I couldn't handle. But I happen to think our bodies need practice fighting these MINOR things, so there are anti-bodies built up for BIGGER stuff--the stuff they don't even KNOW about yet that is mutating BECAUSE we use medicine for everything and those bugs think they have a right to exist too.
I don't get a flu shot. I would have exposed my kids to chicken pox instead of getting THAT shot except my husband had never had them, and for an adult they can be so dangerous. I don't take medicine unless it is BAD—the bottle of acetaminophen in my office EXPIRED in 2006 and is still half full... that is how rarely I resort to it.
Now I may be totally cracked. In fact in other domains, I'm quite sure of it. But I think this serves me pretty well, most of the time.
And there is a WRITING Metaphor (as always, ne?)
We could do our writing and then send it on to a professional editor (the literary MD)... they could work with it and hammer it out so it's nice and lovely, yes? And we may be successful there, and it might be a PERFECT solution. But then we'd write our next book, and we only would have learned a few of the lessons of the hammering out. We only would have gotten the peripheral benefit of watching and listening. We WOULD NOT have the experience of doing it ourselves.
Yes, doing it ourselves takes longer. Yes it's more painful. Yes, there is typically whiskey involved. But the next time it comes around, the required skills are in our docket, practiced and ready to go, so it is EASIER. We may have another tier of lessons when we try a new genre, or target a new audience, or hit a new milestone, but by being primary participants, I think we are better equipped to get stronger and grow.
This is NOT necessarily a self-publish endorsement, as in some cases I think THAT is more like deciding to go to school sick and spreading your germs (not always... some people have mastered the self-healing powers and are good to go)--I just feel compelled to point out that putting on clothes and stepping out the door is not a clean bill of health.
But mostly, I think the personal effort to conquer these things is good for us, as it arms us for future fights.
I know I said not this weekend, but as it is now WRITTEN, I think this will work for the Sunday/Monday blog... so there...