My daughter and I were walking our dogs along the bay and came across a Great Blue Heron. It was very close, and so we stopped to observe. The bird was motionless, even with the chaos of the dogs. I pointed out its gorgeous arched neck and told my daughter that it would stay still like that until an unfortunate fish happened by. Patience and grace came to my mind--that lovely creature exemplified both. It occurred to me that the writing life is much like the life of that heron--from the moment we first conceive a story, to the relentless revisions that follow, to finding an agent, an editor, and then waiting and waiting for that book to be born. It takes amazing patience, but we do it with grace. And then, when the moment is right, the gift is ours.