I created these illustrations in my freshman year of college. Four years later I am graduated, looking back on my homework with fondness. Enjoy these inspirations.
One would think a goose to be a terribly insufficient role model for a writer, but this goose is a particular inspiration of mine. She is from the novel Whittington, by Alan Armstrong, who has reconstructed the tale of Dick Whittington and his cat in this modern adaptation with farm animals. The best animal among them is the goose, whose name is Lady and who carries herself with such dignity as to command all others’ respect for her.
Here is the excerpt which I found so diverting:
It was a curious thing, the Lady’s authority. The horses obeyed her, along with everyone else except the rats. What gave her power was how steady she was. She never rushed; she was always sure, she took responsibility. When something came up, she said what to do. Presence of mind counts for a lot in this world. The Lady was as confident of her judgment as she was of her beauty. Nothing so improves the appearance as a good opinion of oneself.
It is commanding enough to be a sermon or Sunday school lesson. Whenever there is an inspirational message or motivational piece, there should always be an example of model character. This goose is by no means real, but she is a genuinely wonderful model character.
The curious thing about the Lady is that she’s particularly ugly; though she has clipped wings, a lopsided gait, and an irregular shading of colored feathers, she does command the respect of those around her, and that is the admirable quality which I find so comforting and inspiring.
I think that even the best of preachers would give an example like this to encourage their audience. Thanks to Alan Armstrong for creating such a good character.
I understand that writing is a natural for a lot of us. We get an idea, we scribble it in our journals, and voila! We have masterpieces in the making.
But school—that’s a whole different story. I’ve taken creative classes in college, but the creative writing I’m talking about is the extracurricular pieces I hope to publish outside college. These are the types that I deliberately avoid unless I have a spur-of-the-moment urge to jot them down. I do not want my creative writing to interfere with my school, but in those moments when I get an idea I can’t ignore, I feel compelled to write them down.
But sometimes I feel guilty—after settling down to four papers and literary analyses, I almost feel that my school is more important than my creative writing. But isn’t this what I want to do later on? Don’t I want to spend the time doing my creative work? Of course! But not just yet.
Sometimes, I’ll go on a walk and spend thirty minutes just writing what I see—the Lake Johanna with leaves tumbling in golden colors, the lake rippling under the wind’s breath, or the students—I will spend eternity if I have to getting the right moments down. But then my editorial side checks me and reminds me that I have papers due that week.
So here’s my resolution: In the moments of inspiration, jot them down, whether quickly or slowly, do whatever it takes to capture those moments and allow yourself time to fulfill your obligations. But if you’re resting on a Sunday or quiet day, do what you want. Go on a walk. Drink some coffee. Chat with a friend. Read a non-textbook. Whatever you do, do it with the utmost conviction that you’re in the right spot doing the right thing.