Having had my Olympic fix to last four more years, I'm taking time to reflect and
rejuvenate. I understand now why I've always felt a connection between figure skating and writing.
It is in the triumphant smiles and fist pumps of the skaters who nail the perfect triple lutz, precisely timed to the music. That is how writers feel when the perfect word emerges from the haze of juggling too many words in our brains, words shaped like puzzle pieces that will eventually form a coherent story someone will want to read.
Writing, like skating, is all about the unexpected. We worry we might not medal at all in the eyes of readers or publishers. Even if we do, victory brings insecurity, frazzled nerves, and stress we could never have imagined.
But writing is also all about grace and second chances and not giving up. Carolina Kostner, the Italian skater who won bronze in the ladies’ competition, has become my role model. At 27, she is among the oldest competitors. Sochi was her third try at the Olympics after finishing 16th in Vancouver with numerous falls. Not what she expected after a promising 9th-place finish in Turin four years before in her very first attenpt.
Her success came when she stopped fighting and followed her own unique path, choosing to focus on artistry rather than athletics. Maybe her music helped pave her way to success. Her spirituality led her to skate to “Ave Maria” with divine precision. She found victory in the form of a bronze medal skating to “Bolero,” the only music I can listen to while writing. As it rises and crescendos, I am that skater who nails the triple lutz.
Coincidence? I think not.
This is for those writers who teeter on the brink. We all go through it from time to time. Hang in there. Go for the gold. Even if you don’t get it, you will be happier for having written. DON’T GIVE UP.
So go, Carolina! We can’t wait for your next competition. And also our own.