It’s not easy being a writer. Most of the time I write about my personal reflections — usually about ageing. Sometimes, but not often anymore, I write about politics or world events. I look for cartoons or quotations I think are interesting. Art or photography I love. No matter what, it always comes from my heart. Consequently, I feel vulnerable when I hit post. Will people like it? Will it make them think? Give them pleasure or make them laugh? Or will they think it’s stupid, boring, a waste of time or just plain silly? I have developed a pretty thick skin.
I welcome comments and criticism as long as they are not mean-spirited (I don’t get many of them). Yet, I have to admit, I look several times a day to see if anyone has ‘liked’ something I posted and I enjoy the replies. Validation. Seems foolish. But yes… I want it. After all, what’s the point of sharing what I write if no one reads it?
Recently I found myself wanting to reach out, to say something, but I had no words. I was just so tired. It all seemed futile. There was nothing beautiful enough, funny enough or inspirational enough to take away the fear and sadness that predominate life lately. I wondered if anyone else felt that way. Were they looking for a moment of escape too?
Then — quite by accident — I found him! The blue-footed booby. A search online for a bird I had seen in my backyard and did not recognise and he suddenly appeared. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. He made me laugh. I forgot everything — even what I was looking for! I don’t understand why exactly. He just took me away… provided an escape. It was wonderful.
I kept looking at him. Would anyone else like ‘Booby Blue’? Come On, Carole. Don’t make a fool of yourself! But my finger hit ‘share’ and off he went!
In the two days since I posted that picture the response has been amazing. Hundreds — no exaggeration — of likes! So many comments. People who have been to the Galapagos, seen a booby and loved them. Others who said they laughed and smiled, that it made their day. I was overwhelmed at so much happiness. All from a picture I wasn’t even looking for and didn’t think anybody would see or like.
‘Booby Blue’ taught me an invaluable lesson. More than one, actually. Never be afraid to share something that makes you happy — it may make others happy too. Don’t be afraid to look foolish — it’s not the first and it won’t be the last time. Stop thinking you are the only one who yearns for an escape — there are others who do too. Finally, once again, it is the simple pleasures that are often the best. No need for carefully chosen words or fancy art. Just a little bird with blue rubber slipper socks (a wonderful description from a Facebook reader) and a dance to make Fred Astaire proud!