Monday, September 20, 2010

Ties That Bind

Recently the San Francisco Chronicle carried the story about the female humpback whale entangled by masses of fishing lines and crab traps. Hundreds of pounds of lines and traps threatened her life and she struggled to stay afloat. Lines pulled and tightened around her body, her tail and her mouth.

A fisherman spotted the distressed whale and radioed an environmental group for help. The group wasted little time diving into the water to try and free her from bondage. They worked hours with curved knives and determination and finally unchained the whale.

When at last freed, the whale swam around in what seemed like joyous circles, but what happened next became a memory never to be forgotten. She swam back to the divers and, one at a time, gently nudged them, pushing them around a little. In her playfulness, it was like she was saying thank you. The diver who cut the lines out of her mouth says he’ll never forget how the whale’s eyes followed his every movement.

An unbelievable, heartwarming story of kindness.

How do we as writers get untangled from ties that bind? What fishing lines or crab traps do we strain against each day?

Let’s have fun with the word BIND.

Are you plagued by the big “B” or Writer’s Block? Is this another word for boredom, bitterness or bewilderment? There’s always a way out of this mire and it varies with writers. Look for the chip in the block and you’ll find the key. Be brutally honest with yourself as to what’s blocking your writing. A sabbatical is sometimes the answer.

Maybe the omnipresent “I” of interference is your binder. Simply put, life gets in the way. You know how it goes. Life happens on the way to the computer. A secret? If you want something done, ask a busy person. Ask the writer mom/dad who works, cares for the kids, car pools, covers the PTA and has a fun hobby. They make things happen. In your eventful life, you can too, with discipline and design.

The “N” stands, of course, for the No of the rejection letter from the agent or the publisher or the contest. After you’ve received a few rejections, even if some are the golden variety, a thick skin is still needed. You learn and continue forward. It’s no surprise rejections are part of writing.

Associate “D” with dreams, understanding well many people have forgotten how to dream. A small note, encouraging me to take time to dream, is stuck on my bathroom mirror. All reminders needed. A lack of dreams binds hard, yet dreams remain essential for writers.

Your assignment is to look for ways to become untangled from the lines or traps that bind you like the whale was bound. Look for divers sent to rescue. They may come in assorted packages.

Care to share a way you’ve become untangled? Or entangled?

Jude Urbanski


  1. And for Christian writers, entanglements don't just happen. I'm positive that some of the snares that try to encumber me and slow me down come from the enemy of our souls, who doesn't want our Christian themes to be heard--or read.

  2. Wow. Loved the post. And I loved seeing the picture as husband and I enjoyed learning about whales on our Alaska trip in August.

    God's creation is so awesome.

    That includes whales and writers!!!!

  3. Rick, when that enemy of my soul works so hard, I know God has something good comin' in the Wells Fargo Wagon. Just for me.

  4. "Whales and Writers" Sharon, there's an article in the making!