Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Writing with obstacles and rainstorms barring the way

Steering around the logs
We've been getting a lot of rain lately, several weeks worth actually. Water is gathering on our side walk, and pooling there for days because the ground is so saturated. But the last two days have been dry and warm, so off to the lake we went to water ski.

The lake we usually go to was over capacity and the ramp was unsafe, so we headed for one further away but likely to be able to put our boat in.  We arrived and it looked great. I drove the boat off the trailer and my husband parked the truck. It wasn't long before I was idling toward the dock to pick him up and head out into the wide lake while he prepped for skiing. Once he sat down, I increased the throttle and headed off for one of our favorite parts of the lake where we were sure to find smooth water. But I hadn't gone more than a few hundred yards when I had to slow the boat and turn the wheel this way and that to avoid sinkers (logs floating just beneath the surface and not favorable to boats racing along).

My husband ever positive that there is a place on the lake for him to ski encouraged me onward. At first I complied, picking up speed and straining to pick out the telltale signs of a branch poking up from a hidden log positioned to hole our hull. I pulled back on the throttle after going halfway across the lake and got ready to turn into the arm we favored.  By then my husband was standing up in the boat, watching out over the canopy for sinkers he might need to warn me about. The boat speed kept the bow tipped up, so in order to see, I had been propped up on one knee and turned sideways in my seat so I could see over the windshield that was low cut and interfering with my view when I sat. My leg was starting to feel the strain of holding me on the seat, and my foot was wedged awkwardly against the seat back. There was no adjustment I could make without giving up the best view of the water ahead. I was certain we would not be skiing today, and I knew my husband would have to drive for himself to come to terms with that, besides my leg was beginning to cramp. It had been a long winter.

I told him to take over. He did without a word, driving the boat all the way into the arm, searching for a clear place to ski. But the lake was studded with sinkers and short thick branches and gnarled knots of wood floating every ten feet as though someone had applied a grid.

We played about dodging the long limbs and knots for an hour. Then we headed back in, put the boat on the trailer and resigned ourselves to not skiing for at least a couple weeks, if the rains were done.

As we drove home, I realized that this was the perfect metaphor for my writing this year. I had been steering around various obstacles: work, getting a college-bound high school senior organized for graduation, visiting my dementia-suffering mother, and taking care of this and that. I hadn't any time to write and had to wait for the weather of life to abate a bit. So now I am here writing again and certain my planned date of publication for my fourth Students of Jump book was now delayed and my plans to fully draft my first contemporary fiction would have to be reconsidered.

It looks like the sky will be dry for awhile and life's obstacles are looking sparse as well. So I am back to writing and hope all of you have clear skies, too.


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