March 21, 2012

Best Laid Plans

My day-to-day life is pretty routine and predictable. Wake up, read, go for a walk, avoid writing for a while, get some writing done. Not too much variety -- I even eat the same things for breakfast and lunch most days. I like the consistency. It works for me.

As I've discussed before, when my life deviates from the usual, I get all thrown off for much longer than the interruption warrants. I just returned from a trip, and I didn't plan to even mention it here because I was going to have blog posts all ready to go last week so nobody would notice another hiatus. Obviously, that didn't happen.

I was also going to finish revising the current storyline before I left on my trip. Okay, no, I would complete this chapter, and then I'd have the remainder done before the end of the month. Well, at least I'd get through this scene...

Back in the fall, I would have said the entire revision would be completed by now. But while I'm very good at following a routine, I'm very bad at anticipating that life doesn't always conform to my routines and intentions.

I couldn't help but ponder the fate of best laid plans on Monday night as I sat stranded at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport along with hundreds of other travelers due to heavy storms. After a lovely trip to Florida to visit with my grandmother and parents, I was supposed to get home in time for dinner in California. Instead, my layover in Dallas coincided with the arrival of a vicious thunderstorm that closed the runways for four hours.

When planes began flying again, I experienced a series of hopes and disappointments as I watched the cancellations and delays on the flight schedule board. Finally around midnight, I boarded a plane that made it as far as attempting a takeoff, but an engine problem sent us back to the gate. In the end, I spent an uncomfortable night in the airport. I made it back to California at noon on Tuesday.

It wasn't the journey that I had planned, and it took a lot longer than I would have liked. Similarly, I would prefer to be done with my revision journey and have the polished manuscript out to all the kind friends and family who are so eager to read it. But things take as long as they take. Eventually I'll reach my destination.

In the meantime, it's some consolation to realize that revision is rarely as unpleasant as roaming around a chilly airport at four o'clock in the morning yearning for my toothbrush.

Good Stuff Out There:

→ Charlie Jane Anders reveals How Not to Be a Clever Writer: "Because what matters isn't cleverness, but the actual storytelling. If you're not telling a story that rocks, then all the cleverness in the universe won't matter."

→ Nancy Kress considers the connection between Jane Austen and Gregor Mendel: "Good novelists intuitively understand the composition of real families. And real characters -- rounded, believable, interesting -- do not exist in a vacuum. They have, or at least had, families, which they were partially shaped by."


mamagotcha said...

Welcome home! That was a heckuva storm, glad you made it through safe and sound.

Anna Scott Graham said...

Oh that's miserable! But at least you made it home. Those revisions will finish when they do; life muscles in from time to time... :)

So glad you had a good trip! Not sure if I will get to the write-in tomorrow, but if not, soon very soon!!

Christopher Gronlund said...

It really was like the storm was all like, "Man...gonna mess with Lisa!" We get worse storms down here, but that one just kept coming and going. Just enough where it was like, "All right...a break...and you think you'll get out of Dallas/Ft. Worth, but...NO!!! Look, I am making more high winds and lightning! Ha!" (Because in my mind, annoying storms say, "Ha!")

Sorry to hear about the unexpected night in D/FW. It's an interesting enough airport (it has an Irish pub-like thing and dinosaur bones on display), but not where I'd want to spend a night.

As if to add to the "Ha!" nature of the storm, the day that followed ended up quite nice after you left. Puffy clouds with occasional sun, slight breeze, and high in the lower 60s.

Clearly, nature conspired against you for not getting enough revising done while on the trip! ;)

(I can relate to that...every time I travel, whether it's for work or to see family, I think, "I will write!" but rarely do.)

Hope you get back into the routine soon.

Lisa Eckstein said...

Thanks, everybody!

Christopher, thanks for keeping me updated with weather reports during the storm. I am going to imagine bad weather saying "Ha!" from now on.

Yeah, I had plans to work on writing during the trip, despite the fact that it never ever happens. I finally got so bored sitting around the airport that I started writing some book reviews, so at least I got that much done.

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