This week a string of Wrong events converged into a theme. And I tip my hat to Tony, whose quote I found after I'd already learned--and so I could appreciate that it couldn't be put any better.
Event the First:
This week I returned to writing a book I'd set aside two months ago. I'd needed time to recover from a nasty injury--and time to screw up my courage. My backpack had been stolen in May and along with my laptop I'd lost a notebook containing some 50 new pages. Though I'd had some grave doubts about sections, the lost pages came to assume almost mythical importance. And if I couldn't recover those pages, how could I hope to go on?
One day like any other day, I simply couldn't not continue. I accepted the futility of trying a word-for-word recapture. Hell, after a couple of months I couldn't even outline exactly what I'd done. Then again, though, I'd started doubt some major decisions that I did recall: including the too-sudden killings of two minor characters I'd come to like. I set out to take every day as it came, along with each narrative turn.
End result: the two minor characters not only lived, they took on more active roles. And the female character has transformed into something shockingly different from the act that she'd put on. As I wrote, freed of my fears of the loss, a section I'd forgotten about took its place back in the narrative queue but at a new time, in a different way. Now my confidence came back to me. My book was back in business. And...
Lighting struck again: a cool idea for a spin-off series starring the two Seattle characters whom I haven't killed and a major player in the Boss MacTavin series, largely set in San Francisco.
Event the Second:
I needed shirts for the new job. No problem, I thought. At Value Village in Capitol Hill I could certainly find 3-4 like-new top quality shirts, worth $150-$200 marked down to $12-$15 each.
Drat the cat, though. That VV store had closed and the nearest other sites weren't to be easily reached. What to do? I Googled Seattle Thrift Stores and made my decision: I'd try...Salvation Army?
Talk about wrong roads. The Men's Shirt rack held hundreds of dress shirts--and every one of them looked soiled, old and cheap. They might as well have been stamped Loserville, fine with the crowd that had thronged there. I wheeled around, about to go. But on the way I spied a rack with attractive looking shirts that hadn't attracted a crowd.
Here, sold as Sportshirts, were the designer and premium shirts: Sean Jean, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Tommy Bahama, Ralph Lauren...I walked out with one helluva trio for under $50. And I'll return to that store twice a month, now that I know where to look.
Actually, there's more than one, all complementing Tony's:
1) As I learned with the pages I'd lost: Though I hadn't lost them on purpose because the work displeased me, the experience taught me faith in greater powers at play. I remained chained for as long as I thought the lost pages couldn't be bettered.
2) Listen to the inner voice! I'd killed off two characters, mainly because they weren't coming to life and I didn't know what to do with them. Now one of the two characters refused to die and came roaringly to life in the most unexpected way. And, with her, so did her partner.3) If we need to tweak our thinking about the 'wrong' turns we've taken, we also need to be slower about drawing any conclusions. I found three simply sensational shirts because my eyes were open as I was leaving that store.
So, travel wisely and well today, friends, today and all your other days. Learn from your right turns, your left...and your wrong.