Thursday, September 22, 2011

Don't Be a Bumble Bee

The other day I was taking a break from brain-melting revisions and eating my lunch outside on my front porch. I left the front door open to get some fresh air inside and was enjoying the sun when a loud, buzzing noise came from around the corner of the house. A monster bumble bee flew toward me. (How do those things fly, anyway? You'd think they'd drop out of the air.) I ducked (they aren't that fast) and the bee took a turn and headed right into my house.

Well, we immediately had a problem. I didn't want the bee in my house, and since there is a dearth of pollen-rich plants in my living room, the bee didn't want to be in there either. So I ran inside, intending to keep an eye on the bee from a safe distance--i.e. cowering around a corner. I figured the bee would just fly back out the front door. Well, the front door kept drifting closed, and the bee kept buzzing around like a very confused, fuzzy, Godzilla insect with a stinger that would feel like a crochet needle puncturing my skin if it decided to sting me.

I dashed toward the door and propped it open, then retreated to cower once more around the corner. After five minutes the stubborn bee decided it would go check out this large rectangle of sunlight, but it must have gotten turned around because it kept bumping against the open door, rather than making a 90 degree turn and heading outside. I crept forward and oh-so-slowly closed the door, gently guiding the bee to the great outdoors in the most humane manner.

Well, just before the door closed, the bumble bee darted back inside. I ran away. I might have even squealed, but since no one else was here, you can't prove it. Perhaps the squeal that may or may not have happened startled the bee, because this time it flew up . . . and found the large window above my front door. Eureka!! Sunlight!

The bee then proceeded to fly at the window, bounce off, land on the window ledge for a second, shake off the collision, and give it another go. Hit the window, bounce off, land on ledge. Repeat.

For the next 10 minutes.

It completely ignored the wide open front door just 2 inches below it, and kept hitting its head against the window. I watched - in my safe cowering spot - and expected the bee to figure things out after a couple minutes and head out the door. After several minutes passed and the bee kept flying into the glass, I wondered if the bee had sustained brain damage. I finally got sick of waiting, got a cup, captured the monster bug, and released it into the wild. Then I finished my now cold lunch.

I've thought about that experience a little, since I'm a writer-type who tends to analyze little things and file them away for future character development, and can see parallels to how people behave. How many times have you acted just like that bumble bee, butting your head against the same obstacle again and again and again, so focused on doing it this way that just doesn't work that you don't even see the easier path just inches away? How many times have I done it?

My husband often tells our kidlets, "If you keep doing what you're doing, you're going to keep getting what you're getting." Just like that bee kept flying right at the window.

I started looking at my own life and things that aren't working the way I'd like them too, and seeing if I'm acting like that bumble bee. And you know what, sometimes I'm more like a big, fuzzy insect than I'd like to admit. Sometimes I keep doing the same things, thinking that if I only did them faster or slower or more intensely they'd work this time, even though they haven't worked in the past. And sometimes I just need to slap out of my tunnel vision and change up what I'm doing.

I hope I'm not the only one who does this. Anyone else sometimes act like a bumble bee?


Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

I've read somewhere that bees are attracted to light, while flies buzz around randomly. Perhaps that was why the bee kept going to the window. So I guess the bee needed to see the light at the door to find the way out. Maybe there's an analogy in there somewhere. ;)

Windy Aphayrath said...

I like that quote from your husband. Because it really is the truth - you keep doing the same thing, you're going to keep getting the same results. Something in there reminds me of when one should maybe *ahem* stop revising ...

Jolene Perry said...

One of the best lessons I've learned while writing is that you need to get space from your MS.