My Champs Elysées Warrior: For Writing. For Life.

Nope. This is not a plug for Paris perfumer Guerlain and their Champs Elysées Eau De Toilette.

It is a plug for resilience.

Recently I captured a graphic (and I do mean graphic) captioned photo from Facebook. The sentiment grabbed me. The language used to convey the message isn’t a member of my vocabulary, but like I said—the message hit home.

It was the scene of a grizzly bear kill. The grizzly is lunging over the dead body of a wolf it obviously had already taken down, and it’s not pretty. But the wolf’s mate or companion is poised dangerously close to this severe looking grizzly, with its own ears laid back, fangs bared and clearly not going to take this aggressive bear lightly.

The caption?

“A true warrior feels fear, but says f**k it.”

As I said—not my favorite word, but the sentiment of the photo juxtaposed to the quote stuck with me.

Allow me to share another example of such resilience.

The perfume mentioned at the top of this post was my mother’s favorite–and last. She enjoyed wearing it when she dressed up and the scent was quite lovely about her.

When I cleared out her room at the care center after her death I brought her empty bottle home to be sure I’d never forget.

My mother had breast cancer and as the disease progressed and my sister and I could no longer care for her at home, we had to move her where there would be plenty of people around to help lift her and be there at all hours for her. The time does come when a person cannot even turn themselves over in bed.

But before that day arrived, I’d stopped in one morning to visit her in her room. She was standing in front of the mirror studying herself. She had no hair left because of the chemo treatments, and she wore the ubiquitous turban on her bald head. She was finishing up at the sink and I watched as she picked up this lovely bottle of perfume and sprayed some about her neck and shoulders—took another long gander at herself in the mirror and then turned to greet me.

My mother, the fighter, defined herself in that moment and taught me a lesson I’ll never forget. And not one word was uttered or necessary.

Here was a woman who knew she was losing the battle to cancer very fast and yet she still cared enough to spritz a little perfume on herself.

Now—fiction writers know all about “show, don’t tell.” You tell me—is this not a most fully loaded scene of show, don’t tell?

It’s not unlike the abovementioned wolf poised, ready to fight, in spite of knowing the bear had already killed its mate—do you agree?

I read another writer’s comment on Facebook this week. He was most frustrated because he’s sent off queries for this article, and queries for that story, and no one is responding to him. And then he was most skeptical about these ads that come out telling writers “they, too, can make $50K a year copyediting,” and yadayadayada . . . well, it just does get to us sometimes. I felt for him.

I wanted to tell him that he needs to make up his mind about what kind of warrior he is in all of this writing game stuff.

Do you know what kind of warrior you are?

Have you figured out how to be resilient enough to spray on a little perfume when you need it, or open those teeth and prepare to bite into whatever it is you need to in order to survive?

Just keep putting you and your work out into the world, no matter what.

Thanks so much, Mom.

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