Monday, 8 July 2013

Moments with the Master

by Tory LeBlanc

Recently I reconnected with my first great Master, one who is familiar to much of the world. I bumped into him at the Aviation Museum in Ottawa. The meeting wasn’t accidental; I’d gone there in the hopes of seeing him and his cohorts at the museum’s special exhibit.

Even though I had contemplated his teachings for more than three decades, this was the first time we would meet face-to-face. With every step, my heart beat faster.

I rounded the corner and there he was.

Protected by glass from his adoring devotees, he stared serenely ahead. Yoda, my precious Yoda! Although I’d once fancied Luke Skywalker, and had crushed on Hans Solo for years and years, it was Yoda who’d endured in my head and heart.

Surrounded by Star War costumes, model ships, and film clips, it was not hard to remember the words of this great Jedi Master. His sayings are so famous, they roll off the tongues of any human holding a light saber. Their familiarity in no way negates their truth. Powerful thoughts are they.

Part of their impact comes from the alien grammar. The awkward phrasing makes one pause, to translate and make sense of the words. With that split second of thought, the truth is revealed.

It may seem odd that I chose a fictional character as my first mentor. I write fiction, so perhaps it’s appropriate. Yoda appeared when I was young and impressionable, and needed another way of viewing the world. Over the years, I’ve experienced the truth in many of Yoda’s pithy statements, yet my favourite remains the same. The words that gob-smacked the schoolgirl complacency of being content by ‘trying my hardest’ right out of my head? 

“Try not. Do or not do. There is no try.”

Tory LeBlanc writes contemporary women’s fiction.

Do you have a mentor, real or fictional, who influenced you? What tidbit resonated in your heart?


  1. I LOVE Yoda ... and you're right, putting the words together makes you think about what he's saying ... and he's always saying something great!

    I have a lot of people who are strong influences in my life at one time or another. It's funny how people seem to be in your life when you need them.

    As for what piece of wisdom has resonated with me the most? I keep going back to The Alchemist ... "eat when it's time to eat and move along when it's time to move along" ... it just means that all journeys have times where you're moving forward ... and times when you're stuck in one place refueling ... "stuck in one place" doesn't mean the journey is over :)

  2. Enjoyed your post, Tory. Believe it or not, I've never seen a Star Wars movie.

  3. That is a great saying and it stuck with me too, Tory. Loved those Star Wars movies, especially the first ones.

  4. Yoda is way up there for me. Even if, in the past week, there has been an awful lot of "not do".

  5. Love the picture! That saying of Yoda's is probably the one I remember best.

    I didn't realize it until later, but one of my early writing mentors was L.M. Montgomery's Emily of New Moon. Reading about her 'climbing the Alpine Path' prepared me for the ups and downs of a writing career.

  6. I love Yoda! And his advise always echoes in my head when I'm about to do something that requires effort! Great post, Tory. :)