Don’t Be a Lone Ranger

I grew up on old spaghetti westerns, and black and white series such as The Lone Ranger. Every week, on his stallion, Silver, The Lone Ranger would cry out, “Hi-Yo, Silver!” and off they’d go on a new adventure, the ever faithful Tonto following close at their heels.

The only girl in a household of boys, I greatly admired The Lone Ranger’s courage and his untouchable aloofness. My brothers were rambunctious, rowdy and funny. Most days I gladly followed them around trying to join in their hi-jinks, such as jumping from the top bunk, or catching Black Widow spiders in canning jars. But sometimes I just wanted to be alone with my thoughts. Sometimes I needed to step back from the hilarity and bravado, and just think.

I came to appreciate this same quality in The Lone Ranger. I knew in my heart he wore a mask not only so he wouldn’t be identified and lauded for his good deeds. I suspected he also wore it because he liked having that bit of privacy that kept him a little hidden from everyone else. He was a deep thinker, too, I was sure of it.

I still need lots of time alone, which is pretty typical for a writer. But I’ve come to suspect I rely too much on my own thoughts and perceptions when I could be relying–a little at least–on the wisdom and collective writing experience of others.

I’ve never been the type to join clubs, but I see I’ve allowed my natural tendency to enjoy my own company to rob me of the natural camaraderie that often exists between writers. I didn’t realize my hunger to talk shop until I began beta reading five years ago. Since then I’ve met so many talented and wonderful writers and, as a bonus, some of them have become good friends.

I‘ll probably never lose my admiration for The Lone Ranger’s bravery, mask and all. Though it does occur to me all these decades later that courage doesn’t require a mask. All it needs is a strong enough reason to be pushed out of one’s comfort zone, not unlike the bravery it took to jump off that top bunk.