Yesterday morning I discovered my driver’s side window was busted. Well, it’s not like it was a total surprise. While up in the frozen tundra of Idaho, I tried to roll down said window, but because it was so cold the window was frozen in place and the machine continued on rolling. Anyway, of all the windows to break that’s the one I MUST have, so I took it into a shop.
Unfortunately nearly everyone including the BFF is out of town for the holidays, so I had to catch the bus, which also unfortunately is a brisk 15 minute walk from the shop. Mind, it’s been blizzarding here non-stop because of the boot fiasco (I have this curse making it impossible to buy any boots. They’re either out of stock, too small, too big, or most recently get damaged before they got shipped and happen to be the last pair…..) I’m walking in my work shoes, not super conducive to snow.
But I knew I was in for this, so I sucked it up and walked, grinning at the other unfortunate souls as we passed each other by walking in the blizzard. I prayed super hard that I wouldn’t miss the bus (as it takes 15 minutes for the next one to roll by). Just as I was getting close to the stop, it rolled by me. Ack! Fortunately the kind lady on the bus thought I might be wanting to get on and waited at the stop.
It’s odd how you don’t realize how cold you are until you’re blasted with heat. I sat back in my chair, grateful I wasn’t walking out in the blizzard anymore. And the bus stops right outside my complex, so any further chill would be short-lived.
The BFF said I could borrow her car while she was on her family’s Christmas trip to Cabo (yep, super jealous!). But there was one problem in my way, her brother’s truck. He’d parked it behind her car so I could get mine out that morning. Now I had to move it. I suspected it would be a stick shift. Indeed it was.
Now it’s not that I don’t know how to drive a stick shift. I just rarely do, so when the opportunity comes up I feel a little anxious, especially when it comes to a truck. Anyways, I fired the thing up and searched for the parking brake.
Here’s the thing…. The truck is a Toyota SR5. I’m told a lot of Toyotas be they trucks or SUVs have this same awful handbrake. I’m sure some of you know the one: looks like the end of a golf putter with a little button underneath? Supposedly you just push the button, twist, pull and abracadabra, brake released.
Nope. Despite my twisting, pushing, pulling, turning (all of it gentle by the way) this parking brake says, “Oh, no, I ain’t moving!” To top it off, by the end of it the thing feels quite loose. I’m worried I might have damaged it. So I’m staring out the windshield at the BFFs car thinking, oh great, now how am I going to get to Kung Fu let alone anywhere else with this hunk of metal stuck behind her car.
Here’s where the lesson comes in, which can easily apply to writing or any other problem you face. It was later better realized that night when my sifu (Chinese for ‘master) at Kung Fu said, “Just like in kung fu, in life, never take a problem head on. Come at it from a different angle and it all works out.” I could really start a whole series called Stuff My Sifu Says. I just may.
The problem was the truck was behind the car I needed. The head on solution was moving the truck. But, using the brains God gave me, I thought, this garage is big enough. I’ll just do a 20 point nudge. Abandoning the truck completely, I cleared as much space in front of the BFF’s car as I could, and began the careful work of moving the car from one side of the garage to each other by backing up and angling forward.
It took less time than I thought, but I moved the car over and now had freedom to drive to Kung Fu or wherever I wanted. It solved my problem, but not in the way I had initially expected.
So can it go with writing. Sometimes we attack our problems the same way we always have, only to end up frustrated or with a mediocre scene. Instead, take a brief pause, look at the problem and see if there isn’t another way you can approach it. Come at it from a different angle. There’s always another way to solve a problem, we just have to be patient enough and open-minded enough to see it.
That’s not saying it will be easy, or any kind of delight. I was already frustrated and furious about having to walk in the cold and then added upon spending a fruitless half hour trying to get that dumb truck to move. It’s turning into quite the snowy lump, though at the moment, it really isn’t my problem. 😉
How about you? Have you ever had a problem that seemed impossible to defeat, but when you changed your approach is suddenly became manageable, whether in life or in writing? What do you do when you come to a roadblock in your story? Let me know below.