My place provides plenty of examples. The poison ivy will always best me, and every spring, I can count on gaping holes in my screen room from fierce winter winds. This spring, I also found the ceiling fan ripped from its perch, the blades sent flying clear through to the garden. And then there are floods, so strong and untamable that four feet of the bank is gone this year and left behind are gnarled masses of exposed roots, rearranged rocks, silt deposits, and driftwood so large and strange the Ark comes to mind . . .
It’s crazy out there where Mother Nature rules. And if I insist on a particular vision of a piece of the property over which she reigns, I will lose.
So, what does this have to do with writing?
A writer would do well to recognize a losing battle, cry uncle, and go with the impossible, instead of against it.
If you can do that, wonders unfold. Like the unexpected crop that pops up where you didn’t plant it—the tomato plants in the compost pile, licorice in the spearmint. Like the damage to the screen room being just the excuse needed to paint, and the driftwood repurposed into cool furniture, the rocks into an altar, and the mass of twisted root into—well, I’m not sure yet, but the cat is having a good time.
If you go with your writing, no expectations, everything looks different. You can even tackle the difficult stories, the ones that never worked before and yet somehow still seem urgent to you.
Sometimes failure is what we need to usher in the new. Throw up your hands in resignation, and you’ve changed the game. It’s no longer about winners and losers but about the possibilities. This is power in your hot two hands when a minute ago, you were just a loser.
Comments welcome and edited to include first names only, and website, if provided; never your email. Photo credits: give up sign by abradyb; frustrated fellow by supersimbo.