I fixed the zippers on three pairs of pants yesterday, which had previously been held up by safety pins. (Possibly too much information, I know.) For months, I had contemplated picking up a zipper repair kit at Jo-Ann Fabrics. I recalled that my mom used to have such kits, but I didnâ€™t know if they evenÂ existed anymore. When I finally made it to the fabric store, the nice lady directed me to a whole bunch of different kinds.
Once I had the kit at home, I was eager to try it. Itâ€™s not easy to takeÂ a zipper apart and put on a new slider, but I did it, and now I have three almost-new pairs of pants in my closet.
This gratifying experience reminded me of a favorite sentence in my classroom text, Wheelockâ€™s Latin. In one of his odes, Horace wrote Dimidium facti, qui coepit, habet, which means He who begins has half the deed. I tell my students that tackling their translations and homework can be a formidable obstacle. Just open the book, I say,Â and gatherÂ some paper and aÂ pencil. Once youâ€™re sitting there with the book in front of you, starting your homework wonâ€™t be so hard. Donâ€™t worry about finishing the task, just get started.
Another example is writing. We think we have to have an idea or know what weâ€™re going to write. I found when I was writing Missing that all I needed to do was open the document. I may have been stalled for awhile, thinking I had to have to know ahead of time what I was going to say. Once I opened the document, though, and started browsing through it, Iâ€™d always find something to edit and add to, and then a couple of hours of writing would ensue.
Open the document. Make the phone call. Get out your textbook. Buy the zipper kit. Incipe, says Horace. Begin.