Sometimes, you won’t have a lot of time.
The words will just have to show up ready, preformed. Packaged.
That’s how it is in life. It doesn’t always send you what would thrill you.
I’ve had it happen enough times now though–you don’t always realize what’s going to make you happiest. And it isn’t only writing that’s like that.
Charlotte wrote her first book report on Chocolate Fever, a great book for a first book report, and on the little form that asked the questions to help her prepare her paper, the last question asked what she learned from the book.
“Well,” she said, cocking her little 8-year-old head reflectively, “I didn’t want to read it at first.”
“Why not,” I asked, shocked to hear this title wouldn’t intrigue her. Had she seen the cover with the melting chocolatey popsicle on it?
“I don’t know. I just thought it would be about something else. But it wasn’t.”
“Hmm,” I mused, sensing a teachable moment, “You had a preconceived notion. So is that what you learned?”
“Yeah,” she said, picking up her pencil. “You shouldn’t judge a book by the cover or the title.”
That’s my girl. And I didn’t even prompt that in the slightest.
This is the problem: we don’t know what we want but we really, really think we do. It wouldn’t be so bad not to have a clear idea of our desires except for the part where we believe we have it totally nailed down. And we have this from birth. We think we’re the ones who decide what’s going to make us happy.
What really kills me about this in myself is that now that I’m reaching the cusp of “real adulthood”–40–I’m only now becoming able to see just how often I’m dead wrong about what I want and how often I always have been. And that’s not to mention what I need. That’s a whole different overstuffed bag of stupid proof.
It isn’t only me, right? This is a serious problem that deserves some further reflection. But as I said, 5 minutes is it for now. So chime in if you know what I’m talking about.
There’s more on this to come…