A wise old owl lived in an oak
The more he saw the less he spoke
The less he spoke the more he heard.
Why can’t we all be like that wise old bird.*
I had an epiphany the other week. A pure Oprah “ah-ha moment.” When cutting up vegetables for dinner, I remembered how my friend–a wonderful cook–taught me the recipe. How I struggled to cook simple dishes before I’d met her. I wasn’t very confident. I burned meats and side dishes. Threw out countless over-seasoned or awfully seasoned meals. Then she cooked for me and I watched and listened and she shared her recipes. And she also shared her failures. How she’d thrown out food before because of burning it or the odd taste. How this expert chef even used salt–by accident–instead of sugar in her cookies and had to throw out the whole batch.
Sharing these stories and her cooking techniques gave me the confidence to try new recipes. To be patient and start easy and work my way to attempt more complicated cooking methods.
I watched another friend, who has been cooking since she was a child, go through my spice rack and sniff different spices to determine which would work best on the vegetables and chicken we were preparing. Over time, I learned how do that from her.
Then there are other friends who are good bakers and sweet makers. They showed me their techniques for molding chocolates, making sweets, and decorating cookies. I look forward to doing this every year at the holidays with her.
A friend shared her love of birds and inspired me to get a bird feeder for my yard. Another is a fashionista and taught me to take a chance and try out different styles I’d never thought would work for me–and they did.
I’m writing romance and belong to RWA and WRW because a friend and critique partner encouraged me to create romances and join these wonderful groups, which have helped me become a better writer.
My boyfriend (now husband) loved–and still loves–comic books. He took me to my first comic book convention over 20 years ago and introduced me to amazing worlds and adventures that inspire my writing.
The more people I meet, the more people I befriend, the more I learn and grow and change–for the better. My abilities, my world view, my knowledge all expand as my circle expands.
And everything I experience and everyone I meet inspire my stories and my characters.
Thank you to the people in my life for helping me grow in different ways as I strive to be the “wise old owl.”
*Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), p. 403.