Tag Archives: fables

Are You The Sun or The Wind?

Sunrise

“Only you and I can help the sun rise each coming morning.  If we don’t it may drench itself out in sorrow” Joan Baez, American Folksinger, Songwriter and Civil Rights Activist.  1941 – 

‘Once upon a time the wind and the sun challenged one another to a competition. They spotted a man walking down the road wearing a heavy overcoat. The winner, they decided would be whichever one of them could get him to take his coat off quickest. The wind went first, it blew and it blew and it blew but he only clutched it more tightly to himself.

The wind

The wind attempts to strip the traveler of his cloak,

While the wind rested, the sun gently sent his beams out upon the traveler. The sun merely quietly shone upon the man’s head and back until he became so warm that he took off his coat and headed for a shade tree nearby.’

The sun

The sun strips the traveler of his cloak

This classic Aesop fable tells us we can accomplish far more with warmth, support and consistent kindness, than we can through conflict, confrontation and assertive intervention. You may be under pressure now, but you have more time than you think. It’s still perfectly possible to go gently.

So what will you be today – the sun or the wind?

More than 200 fables are attributed to  Aesop, a slave and story-teller supposed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 560 BCE.  The fables remain a popular choice for moral education of children today.

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Aesop – The Lion and the Mouse.

The little reed, bending to the force of the wind, soon stood upright again when the storm had passed over.  Aesop – The Tree and The Reed.

Note – Illustrations of the fable  by Milo Winter in a 1919 Aesop anthology. Wikipedia

Writing Then and Now

When I read Linda Cassidy-Lewis post Do You Write Like a Tortoise or a Hare I started to think of how I write and more particularly what I use to write.

As I have said before I always have a notebook and pencil with me wherever I go and this habit began when I was still at school.  I would write about any and everything and the trusty notebook was always with me.

During the last year of school, several of us in the VIIth form petitioned the Headmistress to allow us to have shorthand and typing lessons.  This request was originally met with horror by the Headmistress and most of the (all female) staff members.  The school prided itself on being “for the daughters of gentlemen” even though we lived in the East End of London.

However, we persevered and eventually were allowed 6 months of tuition in these subjects.  I understand that the classes were continued after we left as part of the usual curriculum of the school.

All these years later, I still jot down notes in shorthand or as my daughter describes it “chicken scratch”.

Manual typewriter

Can you believe that typewriters looked like this Olivetti?  Copies were made by slipping sheets of carbon paper between the sheets of paper and if a mistake were made the letters were erased with a special eraser and those offending letters on each sheet also had to be erased.  No photocopying then.

When I rejoined the workforce in 1972, having been a stay at home wife and mother for some 12 years, I was horrified to be faced with an electric typewriter.

IBM Selectric Typewriter

In accepting the position I hadn’t realized that technology would have moved on so far.  I had many battles with this machine before I finally convinced it who was in charge here.

Soon I had my own secretary and we purchased a memory typewriter.  We were both amazed at this fantastic futuristic machine that took pride of place in her office.  From there it was a self-correcting typewriter.  How this changed the lives of millions of typists the world over.  And then to computers.

How easy typing is today and so many people now do their own.  Most executives have a computer on their desk.  Not much call for Shorthand-typists these days!

But for those of us who write,  I think that the days of the typewriter were the most satisfying.  When I used one I could convince myself I was starting when I turned on the machine, inserted the paper and lined up my notes before the blank page looked back at me.

No such preparation today.  When I sit in front of my computer with a blank screen and don’t know how to proceed I can’t convince myself that I have done anything towards starting.

But in answer to Linda’s question – I think in writing my blog I am a hare.  I decide what I want to write about and it just comes.  But in my other writing, I am definitely a tortoise.

“In real life, it is the hare who wins. Every time. Look around you. And in any case it is my contention that Aesop was writing for the tortoise market.
Hares have no time to read. They are too busy winning the game.”
Anita Brookner, 1928 English language novelist and art historian