Monday, 10 February 2014

The Bend in the Road is Ahead

This has been one of those weeks where I have been haunted by one of my favourite expressions:  control is an illusion.  It seemed no matter how hard I worked, things kept unravelling.  You roll the rock up the hill and it rolls back down.  I know there is a lesson in there but I can't seem to learn it.  And the sinking sensation is that it all will keep happening until you figure it out.

Maybe what it boils down to, in both our personal and professional lives, we must allow for what I delicately refer to as "fuck up time".  Things go awry.  That's normal.  That is probably why we have the term snafu (situation normal all fucked up).  This begs the question: why do we expect otherwise?  Or even, why do we get upset when things do not go well?  Even in the Garden of Eden the plot got twisted.

If I have learned anything in life it is simply to leave enough time to find solutions, to try one more time or come up with an alternative.  It is when we are naïve enough to expect something to be right the first time that we end up in crisis mode.  It is so much more rewarding to have the resource of time and energy to avoid panic or to sit back and savour the extraordinary experience of things going smoothly. 

Don't get me wrong.  I am not a pessimist.  I still subscribe to, what I think it was Voltaire who said, "my life is filled with terrible things most of which have never happened."  The key word is most.  It is a matter of proportion.

So, that means when that grant deadline is looming, the editor asks for one more rewrite, the artwork disappears, your child refuses to talk to you, your spouse asks for a divorce, and your best friend is diagnosed with a terminal illness –all within days apart–you need to be able to tell yourself "this is the bend in the road not the end of the road".  Or you will simply give up.  But if you are a writer like myself you will hear the thought in your head:  "is this an article I can sell to someone?"   

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