My niece sent me these pictures in an email this morning and as I scrolled down, taking in each exquisite detail of the artist's rendition of these beautiful animals, I thought how wonderful it would be to be born with such a natural talent. To be able to pick up a simple pencil in your hand and craft something so real, so breathtaking, so extraordinary.
I thought about my own talents and my meager gift as a writer and wondered if I'd ever be at the same degree of excellence, jealous that someone could have an easier time expressing themselves and letting their muse flow out on the page.
I thought about all the limitations and obstacles I have each day that keep me from fulfilling my dream. The mundane day to day chores, children interrupting, church callings, phone calls, errands and all those little things I let get in the way of my own muse.
And then there are the excuses. Writer's block. Too busy. Not enough hours in the day. Self doubt. Listening and believing those that have negative things to say, like you're too old, too young, not educated enough, not outgoing enough, not GOOD ENOUGH.
By the time I got to my favorite, this tiger, I thought of my character, Toran. He's a white tiger. I thought of the scenes I'd put him in and how much I enjoyed creating him, believing in him and loving him. Me--I created Toran. I breathed life into him. I gave him a personality, a voice. And then I thought of how much I loved doing that, how it is my passion and how horrible it would be if I lost my talent and couldn't create anymore. It was then that I came to the last picture, a photograph of the artist. The lead of his pencil perfectly poised against the surface of the paper.
Meet Doug Landis. A man who has let nothing get in the way of his gift, nothing stop him from achieving his dream. A man truly without excuses, without obstacles, without limitations, not because they are not there, but because he chose to ignore them, to beat them. Regardless of the fact that he has no arms, he has overcome those things that held him back, not listened to those who told him he couldn't, and become the best at what he does.
So, to all of us, no more excuses! Keep trying, keep writing, keep submitting, keep believing and keep dreaming. It will come.