Best Laid Plans and Bloody Paw Prints!

Originally Posted: September 30, 2010

I knew yesterday was going to be hectic, but I had no idea what was in store…  I had everything laid out: after my eye doc appointment, I’d run home, squeeze in a couple hours of writing on the new book and answer my email… I’d walk my dog on the way to town, where I had errands to run: then on to the post office and the bank before collecting daughter #1, who had to be dropped off with a friend at the athletic club on route to grabbing daughter #2 from her playdate… Then back to Northampton for piano lessons and dinner and so on…

This is often how my days go.  As a working mom/writer, I’ve got multiple balls going, and I get a thrill from keeping them airborne. It’s a little bit like the juggling you do when working on a novel–you have to keep track of half a dozen characters and their detailed backstories, several narrative threads and motifs, numerous plot-lines and interwoven research…  When you feel in control, it’s thrilling.

When you don’t, well..

So, what I didn’t count on yesterday was that my eye appointment would leave me blind for three whole hours–during which I stumbled around my house, incapable of looking at a computer screen or doing much of anything.  I took my dog for a walk, wearing my dark glasses, and couldn’t see well enough to notice that she’d punctured her paw (and an artery) on a piece of glass. Sticking to the agenda, I blindly put her in the car and went to run my errands.  Needless to say, when I got back, I was in for a shock: by now, my vision had returned sufficiently to see the inside of my Toyota looking like a slasher movie: bloody paw prints everywhere, on every seat and floor mat.  Blood dripping down the arm rests, the center dividers.  My dog, still bleeding and clearly in distress.

Out went the bank, the post office, the athletic club, and all the other afternoon plans!  I raced to the vet with daughter #1 and her friend, who, instead of going rock climbing, had a lesson in canine vascular anatomy and got to hold a newborn kitten.  Daughter #2 got picked up by her dad, and they spent some rare time together singing every song from High School Musical and talking about friendship.  The dog was fixed up with surgical glue, the afternoon oddly salvaged.

It’s often this way with writing: the best laid plans go completely haywire.  Imagined plots get tossed aside. Outlines don’t work.  But what emerges from the chaos can be richer and more interesting than anything your conscious, planning mind might have concocted.  Best just to go with it, let the story have its way.

Posted by: Dori

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