What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?
This is what’s commonly known as a paradox, an “Irresistible Force” paradox.
No worries, I’m not going there.
But as an overview, a paradox is something that can seem self-contradictory or
absurd, but in reality, it expresses a possible truth.
Such was the case last week when a woman named Nicole Graham was riding her horse on the beach at Avalon along the beautiful Australian coastline just south of Melbourne.
It had been a sunny hot day and Nicole and her daughter were riding their horses on the beach like they had so many times before during the summer and had decided to ride amongst the water to cool down their horses…
Then suddenly, both horses sunk.
It seems their horses had stepped into a pit of quicksand-like mud and went straight down and under. There was thick sandy mud everywhere and whenever they moved, it sucked them down even further and wouldn’t let them go.
After much prodding, Nicole was able to maneuver her daughter’s horse out of the muck and mire ensuring their safety first before returning to her own horse, Astro. While her daughter ran for help, she prayed that rescuers would arrive in time before the tide had a chance to engulf her 17 year old horse.
Nicole said, “I’ve been riding here for 20 years and never had a drama. I’ve never seen any signs and didn’t realize it was so boggy.”
She was so relieved when she saw the dust coming from the rescue trucks. It had been nearly a half hour since her daughter had left and she had started to get overwhelmed. Fire crews and a team of veterinarians went to work. They used hoses and a winch, but none of their tactics were successful because it was like working in quicksand.
Then a local farmer brought over his tractor and after sedating the horse, rescue workers were able to use a sling to pull him out very slowly from the mud. This gave Nicole much relief after enduring a three and a half hour ordeal and Astro was able to escape with only minor bruising.
What possible truth can we derive from this remarkable paradoxical metaphor?
What should we do when we’re stuck in the mud by our own sense of reality?
When we feel bogged down as if we’re stuck in the mud, we need to harness the ingenuities and sensibilities of our friends when it comes to making improvements in how we view ourselves or perhaps in our writing for that matter.
Maybe we need help working through a new plot or writing within the confines of a certain genre. Maybe we feel overwhelmed and find this is preventing us from making further progress. Whatever the case may be, all we need to do is ask for help.
You see, we all need a little rescuing from time to time. Whether it’s a mentor or a beta-reader, or someone who will listen or give us some critique; remember—We Are Not Alone. Please don’t allow yourself to get Stuck in the Mud of despair. Just know that the writing community and your WANA friends are always there to support you because they really do care.
So what do you think? What do you do when you’ve been stuck? Have you had feelings of being overwhelmed lately? And would you be willing to give a carrot to lend a helping hand or would you be running for some help? Or both? 🙂
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Thank you for your many thoughts and fine comments everyone!
Karen, what a great tale. I’m amazed at how beautifully your tied it to our own struggles.
Yes, most of us get stuck in the mud from time to time. We’ve been fortunate to have fellow writers and the WANA community to support us. In my case, my critique group has been invaluable to me many times. To all of you, my deep gratitude. I can only hope I’m repaying you with the same kindness.
Thank you so much for this powerful reminder, Karen. And I’m sorry I’m late to read this — there was mud on the way here…
Fabio Bueno recently posted..Back to High School
LOL, stuck in the mud on the way here. That’s funny! Fabio, please don’t apologize. You’re really busy and sometimes it takes us a few days before we can respond in kind. I’m so glad you enjoyed this story and thank you so much for the compliment. I’m so happy that you have such great support Fabio. We all feel stuck from time to time and need help. And sometime it’s a simple as just asking for it. But for some of us that’s the hardest part. But yet, when we do ask, there is always someone there to give us the direction we need. Thanks for taking the time to come by and I’ll see you on Sunday with ROW80, yes? 🙂
Oh my gosh, what a freaky thing to happen. Those poor women and poor horses! Wow, what a story, Karen, and what a great analogy. This is an awesome post. Well done, lady!
Lynn Kelley recently posted..Haley Whitehall – Historical Fiction Author
Yes it was freaky Lynn. For twenty years they rode their horses on that same beach without a care and then one day, plop, their in a muddy hole! Can’t imagine the fear. I’m so glad you enjoyed the analogy. Thank you so much Lynn! 🙂
I’m sorry about the horse and what happened. It never happened to me fortunately. The only time when i was I just left a boot on a potato field:P
Hopping around a muddy potato field must not have been too fun, eh? Thanks for dropping by and leaving your thoughts Zinedine, it was very much appreciated! 🙂
I’m really late commenting my friend. must have been so scary for the ladies and the horses – those poor animals.
One of the lessons I’m learning is to ask for help when I’m stuck and take it when it arrives. that can be hard for me at times.
thanks for an uplifting post.
Louise Behiel recently posted..Rebels and Scapegoats: How do They Heal?
No worries Louise. I’m not posting everyday so you have time to pop in when you can. Yes Louise, sometimes it is hard to accept help, but why stay stuck? And we are surrounded by a wonderful group of people who are always ready to lend a hand. You know that you can ask me for help anytime girl, right? Take care Louise and thanks for coming by! 🙂
A super inspirational story. I love horses. So happy Astro made it out. I know a little about being ‘stuck’ — especially with needles lately. This post reflects you warm, compassionate nature, Karen.
Roy Street recently posted..Welcome Scott Nicholson and Pj Schott
Thank you so much Roy for saying that! I find that life inspires me. Ouch Roy, that doesn’t sound very good. Needles? Yes, you have been through a lot lately Roy. I’m glad to see you. I hope this means that you’re feeling better! Take care and thanks for coming by! 🙂
What a heart-wrenching story! So glad they were able to rescue the horses! You really turned the drama into a universal point, Karen. And your kindness and support around Roy’s recent medical crisis is a perfect example of it. Thank you. 🙂
Alicia Street recently posted..Welcome Scott Nicholson and Pj Schott
I don’t know what to say Alicia. It is in my nature to care about people. So naturally I would be concerned about Roy or yourself for that matter. It can be very stressful to deal with a health issue. Especially with something as serious as you and Roy have had to deal with. So happy he’s doing better. And I’m so glad you like the post! Thank you so much for coming by to support me and others Alicia! 🙂
I love it when team work comes together for a happy ending. I would have been mad at you had you posted about these horses and one of them didn’t get out. But I had faith in you. 🙂 Beautifully uplifting, my dear.
I read this yesterday and wandered away because I had to start from scratch with all my personal info. It will be that way everywhere given my “clean” computer. Sorry I was slow to comment.
Debra Kristi recently posted..“There Can Only Be One” on Immortal Monday – Highlander
Ah now Debra, you know me by now. I would have never lead you all to a depressing ending. It’s just not my style! But you’re not the only one who has said this to me. Hmm. I’m a happy ending girl Debra! I just used this story to make a useful inspiring point. No worries on when you get here Debra. The point is that you came. Thank you my friend. I’m sorry for your computor issues. I do hope that you’re on the technical mend and look forward to many more of your posts! Thanks Debra! 🙂
Powerful story, Karen! When I get stuck, I usually feel so uncomfortable—depressed, cranky, moody…—that I have little choice but to look inward and change my game. When I’m unsure what the problem is, talking it out and/or writing tend to help. I once realized how unhappy I was in a relationship through a song. I had to write the whole darn thing to realize the sad woman I spoke of was me. LOL Thank goodness for art, right?
Thanks for the inspiring post!
August McLaughlin recently posted..The Menstrual Magnifying Glass: Embracing the Cycle of Creativity
Oh thank you August! I’m so glad you found it inspiring! I understand the emotions you feel girl. I get those same feelings too. It can be so frustrating. But how creative of you to use your musical talent to tap into your innermost feelings. Wow, that’s enlightening. Hey, art IS good for the soul! Thanks August! 🙂
My god what a story.
Thank you, Karen. I’m so glad things worked out.
I’ve been stuck in the mud for a bit, not writing, and feeling bad about that. I’ve decided that it’s okay that I’m not writing right now – I’m in the run up to doing my taxes, after all! – and I know I will write again.
(though I’m having fun thinking about my story and my MC.. :))
Julia Indigo recently posted..It Builds Character
Thank you Julia! I’m so sorry that you’ve felt stuck my friend. I’ve been feeling the same way. The stress of life sometimes has a way of getting in the way. But it’s good to know that you’re not giving up! I find that on down times it gives my mind a chance to figure things out for my characters. And see, you’re doing the same thing. You’re story is going to come together Julia. Is there anything that I can do to help you? Come get me and I’ll try to help, okay? Take care and thanks for coming by! 🙂
Oh my gosh, my insides twisted up at the beginning of this story. And I love the way you drew it into encouragement! Brilliant! Thanks so much for sharing!
Marji Laine recently posted..Wheels Go Round in a Circle
Uh-oh, sorry about that Marji! Didn’t mean to do that to you. But the story did have an encouraging ending! I just thought that the metaphor was appropos. I’m glad you enjoyed it! Great to meet you and thank you so much for stopping by Marji! 🙂
I liked it so much I tagged you on my blog today! You can find out the details here:
Hope you can play!
Marji Laine recently posted..Happy Saturday: What follows is 23 Great Articles I’ve Recently Found!
Yes, I was hoping for a good ending to this story too. Of course, now I want to know what WANA is?? This is definitely a post I’m going to share with a friend who needs it today. Thanks for writing.
Hi Bethany! Nice to meet you! Never worry. I wouldn’t put you through that. I tend to like a happy ending myself. Well WANA stands for We Are Not Alone. Are you familiar with Kristen Lamb? She’s the writer that inspired this and is a guru for all things social media and blogging. She teaches her WANA methods at Write It Forward.com . You are welcome to come and hang out with us at #MYWANA or #WANA1011, that’s where I mostly hang out and there are two other classes, #WANA711 And Mike is from #WANA112. We are a writing community that is super supportive Bethany and we’d love for you to come hang with us. Or even your friend for that matter. I’m so glad you found this post helpful. Please stop by anytime! Take care! 🙂
Wow, that poor horse. I’m glad they were able to rescue him.
For myself, I like to help people when I can. I’m also glad to accept help when I need it, although sometimes I might need a little convincing.
Mike Schulenberg recently posted..#amreading: Arena of Antares
Hi Mike! Poor horse is right! I can’t believe that a 17 year old horse can live through all of that. And it took a lot to rescue him. You know I got the sense from reading your post yesterday that you would be the type of person who would help others. Yet, asking for help for ourselves isn’t always the easiest thing to do. And look at you. Another post up! Thanks fantastic Mike! Thanks for coming by! 🙂
I read the story and Nichole and her horse on Yahoo! How traumatic! Good way to use this example and its relation to our own creative process. Getting stuck in the mud is not the end. We just need to stay calm and reach out for some help!
I love this post Karen.
w/a Jansen Schmidt
Oh thank you Patricia! I am so glad you loved it. Yes, I do know from time to time that someone might see a story that I’ve chosen to write about, but I think that they are very moving human interest posts. People can identify with the horse and its owner. And it gave a deeper meaning to the theme that I had wanted to convey. Thanks Patricia for coming by. And know that you can alway reach out to me or anyone else in our WANA group for help. It’s good to know we can count on one another! 🙂
I was praying the outcome of that story would be good. I’d have had to come fun and you give you a talkin’ to! 🙂 Our posts today both talk about teamwork and the concept of WANA. Love being part of this Team Support Revolution!
Just last week, I was speaking with a writer friend and I explained the bones of my new book and explained how I’m missing some fundamental parts. In less than 5 minutes, she suggested a few things that gathered all the parts in and attached them together. I was thrilled! And all I had to do was say, “Ugh, I’m struggling with this, what do you think?”
People want to help!
Ginger Calem recently posted..WritersButt Wednesday—Buddy Up!
Did I give you a scare Ginger? I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do that to you. But you should know me by now. Would I ever leave you with a bad feeling at the end? I’m a happy ending kinda girl! Viva the Team Revolution! I am so glad you shared this experience with us Ginger! Just knowing that when we open up and spill our innermost feelings to someone else, we can feel safe knowing they have our best interest at heart! And I do feel that our WANA friends do have our best interest at heart! Yes, people do want to help. But they can’t help if we don’t tell them or let them help, right? I be by later to check out your post! Can’t wait! Thanks Ginger! 🙂
Karen, great post and what an amazing story. I can’t say how wonderful it has been being able to turn to all the WANAs when feeling down and in the emotional dumps. Knowing that WE ARE NOT ALONE has really boosted my self-confidence, knowing I have somewhere to turn. And interestingly enough, I am right now as we speak, down in the “sagging middle” dumps of my latest book, working on a murder mystery with three separate subplots but I love mucking through. I still have a ton of work to do and lots of loose ends to tie up, but I want to make this a great book, and I look forward to each days muck-fest, knowing at the end will be the best book I’ve written so far. And then there will be the time of the happy dance knowing I have friends to share it with. Friends who understand the struggle as they have all done it themselves. Whew, sorry, that’s a bit of a mouthful. Thanks for a great post.
Rachel recently posted..Happy Friday From Our Furry Friends and an Overworked Writer
You know Rachel, I am so happy that you feel comfortable enough to express your feelings here. They’re always held in safe keeping. It is a great feeling to have the support that we do with all our WANA friends! It’s like we are on a high wire and our classmates are our safety net! And you’ve been a safety net for me girl. I can’t thank you enough for bolstering up my confidence at times and I hope that I can do the same for you! Our exterior may seem tough sometimes, but deep down inside we all have those feelings of doubt and despair. It’s nice to know that our WANA friends are always there! 🙂
OMG that poor horse! So glad this story had a happy ending! And so true about asking for help. Sometimes just talking through it or framing the question, will reveal the solution. I do this all the time in my day job, AND in my writing! I’ll describe the problem in an email, and before I’ve hit send, it comes to me. Well, usually! Another great post, Karen!
Jennette Marie Powell recently posted..My Town Monday: The Road to Madness Starts Here
Well Jennette, I couldn’t leave you all with a bad ending? It would go against my conscience. I just couldn’t do it to you guys! But I’m glad you’ve found something that works for you. But just so you know, you can always give a shout out to one of your WANA posse for help and we’ll come running! You can bank on that one Jennette! Thanks girl for coming by! 🙂
Poor Astro! I’m glad he got the help he needed to escape the quicksand. God knows, we’ve all needed rescuing at one time or another–and we’ve all been rescuers. I like your WANA shout-out, Karen. Now, how are YOU doing?
I know Pat. I can’t imagine how the horse felt, let alone his owner. Horse people are very connected with their horses. She must have been freaking, which is how some of us may feel from time to time. How am I doing? Well that’s a loaded question Pat. I think I need a lemon martini first before I can talk about that. But thanks for asking and checking on me! You’re a great support as always Pat! 🙂
Sometimes, when we’re feeling overwhelmed, we don’t realize that all we need to do is ask. Thanks for the perfect reminder.
Diane Capri recently posted..Readers Ask: Can I Read Diane’s Books My Way?
Thanks for pointing that out Diane! It’s as easy as giving a little shout out to our WANA friends and they leap in to help! Always! It’s fantastic! 🙂
What a great story. Oh yes, I often have mud on my boots these days. However I have learned to ask for help from the WANAs and they always come through. It is all quite amazing really. And yes indeed, I am always ready with a carrot or a tractor. (metaphorically speaking)
Prudence MacLeod recently posted..Refocusing
Oh yes, I can picture you with mud on your boots Prudence! LOL! Isn’t it great that you as a seasoned author can feel comfortable enough to ask for help? We have the best community of writers a and support amongst our WANA group! And I know Prudence that you would be one of the first to hold out a carrot or tractor if neccessary! Thank you Pru! 🙂
What a scary experience!
Yes, being overwhelmed is a familiar thing for me. I usually take a step back and refigure priorities. Although not without losing a few hairs and eating a little too many chips. Ha ha.
Great post Karen 🙂
Coleen Patrick recently posted..Loving a Book by its Cover
Eating a little too many chips! LOL Coleen! I hear you on the overwhelmed thing. I do that too. Well, I wear overwhelmed. Taking a step back and refiguring is a great idea Coleen. But you know you can always ask for help. Don’t pull out your hair girl! Thanks for coming by Coleen! 🙂