Quote of the Day: The Tiger by William Blake

TIGER, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water’d heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

InsecureWritersSupportGroup.jpgThis post is part of the monthly submissions to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG). To learn more about the group, to join, or to find more bloggers participating, visit their website, or the founder Alex J. Cavanaugh. Today, I want to talk to you about being the Tiger. I found inspiration for this while teaching my theatre classes for kids this spring at Central Lakes College in Brainerd.

Theatre classes for elementary students at CLC, Spring 2015

Theatre classes for elementary students at CLC, Spring 2015

The Tiger was a 3rd grade boy. His grandma signed him and his sister up for my class. The sister came dressed to the nines the first day, complete with sparkly shoes. Tiger stood behind her and wrung his hands, smiling shyly. We did some warm-up exercises, one that gets you moving and helps learn each other’s names. The other one is called Gears. In Gears, one person starts building the machine by walking into the center of the circle and making a noise and an action. The next person enters and connects to the first with his noise and action, and so on until everyone has joined the circle. The noise and actions escalate until someone throws a “cog in the wheel” so to speak. Well, Tiger held back every time. I tried to help him come up with a noise and an action. He pulled back, wringing his hands, yet looking intensely at the group. By the end, I invited him to be the cog (or water or bomb) with me, and we destroyed the machine together, to much laughing and falling down on the floor. Tiger chose his character, a Tiger, to go with our farm theme for the spring play. In my Play off the Page classes it is perfectly fine for a Tiger to live alongside the chickens on the farm. Tiger had the important job of popping out of his cage (box) and scaring the chicks away. Then, he gets chased off by the witch and her sidekick. We had six sessions to develop our play. On the 7th day, we performed for family and friends. At the end of the 5th class, Tiger came up to me (Grandma and Sister stood quietly behind him) and said, “I think this is my last day.” I said, “What, why? What’s going on?” He said, “I’m just too shy. I can’t do it.” I looked at Grandma. I looked at Sister. They both looked back at me. I said, “Tiger, I need you. The group needs you. Who will scare the chicks if you’re not here? And, besides. I know it’s scary, but you’re not alone. You have this whole group here to tell the story with you.” He wrung his hands. He didn’t quite say, okay, but I could tell he was considering it.

The next week, our final rehearsal before the performance day, we were missing a couple kids, one of whom played the Wolfman. The kids looked at Tiger and said, “You can do the Wolfman today. You can do both parts.” Tiger didn’t say a word to me, but when it came time for the Wolfman to howl, or appear with a growl and chase away the detective and her cats, he entered with a presence. He didn’t hold back. Tiger was not only the Tiger, he was the Wolfman. He knew he was needed, and he did a great job! 

On our performance day, he came dressed and ready. I had a couple moms helping with make-up. Wolfman was back in action, and the play went on to a great success. Tiger was all smiles. I was all smiles. His mom, Grandma, and sister were all smiles. And, I knew that something profound had happened in that little black box theater. Someone had faced his fears and become the Tiger.

Dear Insecure Writers and Artists, remember the Tiger when you start to falter. When your confidence wains and you want to say, “This is my last day. I’m not coming back,” know that I’m here with you. You’re not alone. All the other IWSG-ers are part of your team. You can do it, now…

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt:  Describe a time when you wanted to quit, when you were sure you didn’t have the moxy to go on. Now, describe how you persevered, or what you could do to be the Tiger and feel that sweet moment of success. Let me hear you roar!