Limitations: Real or Manufactured?

11 Apr

When I was five years old, way back in 1953, my parents purchased a home after renting for the first eight years of marriage, and we moved to 4022 North 18th in Tacoma, Washington.  As a way of lessening the trauma of a major move, my parents bought me a new puppy.

She was a Toy/Rat Terrier, all-black with a white chest, and I named her Pixie.

Pixie was a small dog, full of energy, and I was thrilled to have her.  The plan was  for Pixie to stay in our backyard, a yard surrounded by four-foot high fencing.  It was a decent-sized yard, certainly with enough room for a small dog to frolic in.

But Pixie had a different idea.

One day I went out to feed Pixie and she wasn’t in the backyard.  I must have spent a good five minutes confirming the obvious, that my small dog had somehow escaped, and then I yelled for my mother, tears in my eyes, and she and I went around to the front yard and there was Pixie, contentedly chewing on a stick of wood under the willow tree, apparently without a care in the world.

Mom scooped up the dog, took her around to the back, and locked the gate.  She and I both went inside and watched Pixie.  It didn’t take long for the mystery to be solved.

Our backyard and the neighbor’s backyard were separated by a stone wall, and our fence butted up against that stone wall.  Pixie took a run at that corner, leapt up on that stone wall, pushed off it at an angle, and vaulted off the top of our fence to the other side.

It was pretty impressive for a miniature dog.

From that day on, we just left the gate open, and Pixie had free run of the front and backyards.


“Do just once what others say you can’t do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again.” James Cook

There are certain things I simply cannot do in my sixty-eighth year.  I can no longer throw a fastball ninety-miles-per-hour like I did as a teen.  I can no longer run like the wind nor can I climb mountains with reckless abandon.

But I can still write, and I can find time to write, and I can definitely find time to practice my craft and become a better writer.  I have no excuses with regards to writing.

How about you?


Unless, of course, you’ve made other plans.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


28 Responses to “Limitations: Real or Manufactured?”

  1. Janine Huldie April 11, 2017 at 2:20 pm #

    Aw, loved your recollection of Pixie here today and you brought me back to my old childhood as I had two dogs for the price of one. And just like yours, ours also played in the front and back of our home, too back then. Happy Tuesday once again, Bill 🙂

    • Billybuc April 11, 2017 at 2:30 pm #

      Thanks for sharing those recollections, Janine! Good times back then, for sure.

      Happy Tuesday and eternal thanks, my friend.

  2. Robin Grosswirth April 11, 2017 at 2:52 pm #

    Hi Bill.

    It begs the question, why couldn’t the dog reside inside?

    Above and beyond that, the spawning of writing flows from each of us differently . We each have to have that muse with us and that takes certain conditions to exist within each of us in order for writing to be brought to fruition.


    Robin Grosswirth

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Billybuc April 11, 2017 at 4:06 pm #

      Oh, Robin, she did reside inside, right on my bed, for seventeen years…this was just during daytime.

  3. Linda Lum April 11, 2017 at 2:59 pm #

    Well Bill, maybe Pixie was your inspiration to never give up. I think she might have been as much part of who you are today as was upbringing by your parents. What a sweet story–wonderful memories. Have a great day my friend. The sun is supposed to stay out and give us some respite from the rain.

    • Billybuc April 11, 2017 at 4:07 pm #

      Thanks Linda. I plan on getting outside by two o’clock to get some chores completed. Wish us all luck!

  4. Sarah Potter Writes April 11, 2017 at 3:49 pm #

    Dogs are so clever. When my chocolate Labrador was a puppy, she worked out in less than five minutes how to open the child-proof catch on the stair gate. When she tried to leap on my son’s bed and failed, she sat there thinking about it for a few minutes, before going out onto the landing and taking a run at the bed from a distance, succeeding this time. Having learned this, she ran across the kitchen and up onto the table with seamless grace.
    Nowadays, as with her owner — moi — we are both growing older gracefully, but she is still my main supervisor. Today, she has spent hours by my side whilst I’ve been writing, spurring me on. Now she has her eyes on my back, willing me to unglue myself from my desk and feed her.
    I hope you’re having a wonderful, productive week, my talented friend.

    • Billybuc April 11, 2017 at 4:09 pm #

      Great story about your Lab, Sarah. Thanks for sharing it with us. We have a new puppy, and she reminded me of my own puppy many years ago. They are extremely clever in problem-solving. Her energy wears me out quite frankly. LOL

      Thank you, I am having a very productive week so far, and I wish you the same.

      • Sarah Potter Writes April 12, 2017 at 3:46 pm #

        Puppies are exhausting, but I think that if they have your full and undivided attention and supervision in the first few weeks, they train quickly and pay dividends later. Having a new puppy is a good way to get worn out, compared to getting worn out by demanding people!
        I’ve just finished editing my novel and have handed it over to my eagle-eyed son, who will not allow me to get away with any writing sins!
        Now to emerge from my cave and enjoy the sunshine. Even become sociable again…

      • Billybuc April 12, 2017 at 5:07 pm #

        Social, Sarah? I’m not sure I understand that. LOL Bev won’t allow me to be a recluse but I swear, I would if I could. Just this little old man writing his novels and never in touch with the humanity he writes about. 🙂 Enjoy that sunshine, my friend!

  5. 1authorcygnetbrown April 11, 2017 at 8:44 pm #

    During the past few years, I have learned that limitations are often opportunities in disguise. My eldest had a learning disability and now he owns his own business. I have seen people with physical disabilities who overcame them. Our biggest obstacles often are between our ears.

    • Billybuc April 12, 2017 at 1:56 pm #

      Truer words were never spoken, Donna! Thank you!

  6. Sageleaf April 12, 2017 at 10:31 pm #

    What a fun story about Pixie. It’s funny how animals have a sense of what they want and what they’re going to do. 🙂 I am glad, however, that she didn’t run away and that she stuck around and decided that, yeah, you were her “person.” I’ve heard that dogs, once trained, will never cross the invisible line around a yard (after experiencing the initial shocks) and that after that, their limitations are manufactured. And so it is with our minds.

    • Billybuc April 13, 2017 at 1:55 pm #

      Great metaphor, Lil Sis, and I believe so true. An invisible line setting our limitations….I don’t want that, and I fight against that line all the time. Thanks for the reminder to keep fighting.

  7. rollyachabotbooks April 13, 2017 at 3:45 pm #

    Hi Bill… Pixie was a smart one and I love the vision of you and your Mom secretly watching the great escape. Mans best friend had to guard both the back and front yard. Love in both directions kept him close to home.
    Your thought of the day remind me of the limitations imposed on my body, just few older than yours. My old hide and I argue each time I place a demand on it and it has a way of reminding me when I have taxed it. I stay as active as I can as there is many things I have grown to love.

    Great stuff Billy…

    Hugs from Alberta

    • Billybuc April 13, 2017 at 5:09 pm #

      I know the feeling, Rolly! I have similar conversations with this old body of mine. I’m shocked when it refuses to respond to some demands. LOL

      Thanks my friend. Hugs from Olympia heading your way.

  8. Christy B April 13, 2017 at 4:07 pm #

    Here’s to pushing through boundaries like Pixie did! I thought it was going to be a sad story of your dog running away but then the ending was so motivational and happy instead 🙂 Hugs for you as you transcend boundaries, Bill!

    • Billybuc April 13, 2017 at 5:10 pm #

      Aww, thanks Christy! You would have loved Pixie, my friend.

  9. phoenix2327 April 14, 2017 at 11:53 am #

    Truthfully, there is no excuse for me not writing. Every now and then I hit a stone wall and have to work harder to overcome it. Recently, I stumbled over some descriptive text. The rhythm was off and it was dry as dust. I spent two hours staring at the screen but couldn’t seem to fix it. So I rage quit, walked away and berated myself for giving up. I avoided writing for three days after that. Intellectually, I understand it’s part and parcel of the writing gig so I have to deal with it. But inwardly I rebel. Why should I have to work so hard at something I enjoy? It’s not fair. (feet stamping, arms crossing, head turned away). As I said, it’s no excuse.

    But it’s funny how things work out. While playing a video game (avoidance behaviour, I know) the words suddenly came to me. I grabbed a notepad and wrote down what was floating in my head. This morning I transferred my notes to my story and the wall just crumbled. It’s not great but it’s done. I can pretty it up when I revise.

    Anyway, my limitations are of my own creation. I should trust the process more and not lose my cool so easily.

    Have a great Easter, Bill.

    • Billybuc April 14, 2017 at 1:49 pm #

      I love your honesty, Zulma, and I thank you for sharing that. I’m on my first re-write of my latest novel, and every paragraph feels like pulling teeth. I mean the muse has left the building, leaving me floundering in my own unimaginative world, and it is royally pissing me off because I love these characters….and like you just said, I know it will return, it always has, and I just need to get the hell out of the way.

      So Happy Weekend to both of us. May we forever trust in the process.

      • phoenix2327 April 14, 2017 at 4:53 pm #

        Thank you, Bill, for letting me vent. Writers are the only ones who really understand what one goes through.

        Since you mention it, just how do you do your revisions? Do you take it one chapter and a time and keep notes? How do you keep track of minutiae such as weather, dates, and minor characters who cross paths with the major players? Yes, I’m the sort of geek who sweats the small stuff. 🙂

  10. Billybuc April 14, 2017 at 6:42 pm #

    I’ll answer your question in-depth on Monday, but the quick answer is. . . I’m terrible at that sort of organization. The small-stuff drives me crazy, and the worst part of it is, it’s my fault. LOL

  11. Sageleaf April 18, 2017 at 12:05 pm #

    Just wanted to stop by on this rainy Tuesday morning…contemplating the trouble with timezones. Hehe.
    See…I *know* you’re coming out with a blog post today and I’m a-waitin’. BUT, in just a bit, I”ll be headed to work and won’t be near my computer again until after 8:30pm (EST) this evening (husby and I have lil date nights on Tuesdays…to the grocery store, hahahaha). But I just wanted to say that I’ll be back to comment later…

    • Billybuc April 18, 2017 at 1:54 pm #

      I love you, Lil Sis, and I thank you for thinking of me before your day begins…and it’s raining here as well. Late last night I realized I hadn’t done the blog post yet, so I was writing it at ten. Hope it makes sense this morning. LOL

      hugs from Olympia…have fun on that grocery date. 🙂

  12. Karen Szklany Gault April 20, 2017 at 2:21 pm #

    Just love your stories and your encouraging messages. Very inspiring as I am re-thinking how I manage my time now that Spring has sprung and my gardening must be drawn into the rotation of daily activities. ~:0)

    • Billybuc April 20, 2017 at 2:32 pm #

      I’m with you, Karen! My adjustments in time have been delayed because the weather has been horrendous here, but I’ll have to fit gardening in somehow soon. Thanks for being here, my friend.

  13. Shauna L Bowling May 9, 2017 at 8:04 pm #

    Bill, I love that you segue into the them of each post with a relevant story from your childhood. I love learning about your life “back in the day” and how it relates to who you are today. Nice touch, my friend!

    • Billybuc May 9, 2017 at 8:41 pm #

      Thank you Sha! At my age, I have a never-ending supply of vignettes. LOL I love having you as a friend, so we’re even. 🙂

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