Saturday, May 27, 2006

On the outside looking in

by Kathy Bone

I recently read an article about the Georgia Aquarium, which opened this past November in Atlanta and was amazed to find how spectacular and popular the Aquarium has become. Housed in downtown Atlanta, the Aquarium has almost exceeded 2 million visitors, a goal originally anticipated to have been met by its first anniversary. Now with the Aquarium’s surging popularity driving the helm, this ship-shaped building has taken on a life of its own. On a daily basis the Aquarium is visited by nearly 10,000 people. Housing the world’s largest indoor fish tank, it has also become a gathering place for weddings, parties, and bar mitzvahs. Between 4,000 to 6,000 people can be in the building at any given time, and advance tickets must be purchased to keep from waiting in long lines. Hours of operation have been moved back to 8:00 a.m. and stretched so that closing isn’t until 8:00 p.m. on certain days in answer to consumer demand. Venturing indoors you will find a spectacular fish show which includes a giant Pacific octopus and penguin exhibit as well as an up front and personal view of a beluga whale.

We go to places like these to get in touch with nature and glimpse life other than we know it. We stand mesmerized, looking from the outside in, watching life as it passes us by one swish of a tail at a time. I’m reminded of an etching by an old Art School friend. Envision, if you will, a fish bowl. In it, and this is not where you say I see a fish. Oh no, in it is a cat’s head and our dear little fish is looking from the outside into the fish bowl at a waterlogged cat.

Here’s my thought. Fish in an Aquarium seem isolated, impossible to reach and in some cases like sharks, thankfully so, behind impenetrable glass. Our minds would never conceive of putting a cat in a fish bowl but imagine you are that cat. Imagine you are what the fish are looking at in the Aquarium. Imagine barriers of time and space, goals and recognition of those goals, race, culture and speech, are all broken. Ropes do not bind an energetic runner. Chains do not hold back the momentum of purpose. We are works of art transposed by hopes and dreams, not caged behind partitions that bind.

As many of us prepare for the National Romance Writer’s Conference coming up in July, appointments with editors and agents weigh heavy on our minds. Wardrobes suddenly appear too sparse for comfort. Pitches must be fine-tuned and our hearts have already begun to beat to the sound of a ticking clock. Dare I suggest that we don’t have to be the fish anticipating the cat’s next move? We can be like the cat, ever poised, no longer looking from the outside in.

Decide to visit the Aquarium in Atlanta and while you’re thinking about it, what advice do you have for all the other fish in the tank?

For more information including hours of operation and pricing, go to .


Problem Child said...

Great blog Kathy. Thanks!

I'm looking forward to going to the aquarium while we're in Atlanta.

Kathy said...

Wow! My very first blog, a moment to cherish always. I'm digging it!

Thanks for the ego boost, PC. I'm really looking forward to seeing that Octopus exhibit myself.

Jennifer Y. said...

I am proud to say that my dad was one of the many workers who helped build the aquarium in Atlanta. He is a pipefitter/welder and worked on pipes for tanks and whatnot. We got to go to a special pre-opening for workers before the official opening and it is beautiful!!! I really want to go back.

They say on the news that is best to make timeslot reservations because it so busy so those of you thinking of going may want to call and see.

Angel said...

That's really cool about your Dad, Jennifer. What an awesome thing to be a part of.

We're getting our tickets next week! Can't wait to go.


Angel said...

After thinking about it overnight... my advice would be not to get too worried about what will happen at conference. Yes, you want to appear professional and "with it", but if you stress too much about that, then you won't appear to be yourself, just a stiff version of it.

Remember, this is also a wonderful opportunity to be with a group of people who understand you and your desire to write. Revel in that. Enjoy discussing writing to your heart's content with someone who is actually interested (and their eyes aren't glazing over at the mere mention of premise, word count, or conflict).