Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way. -E.L. Doctorow
^ By mid-afternoon, a dense blanket of fog had settled onto our familiar stomping grounds, and transformed our everyday route into a mysterious journey.
Ten years ago, I wondered.
What might happen if I wrote something every single day?
And thus, my blog was born.
^ We could see where we were, but not so much where we were going.
Good thing Gracie can suss out the rabbits by their scent.
I've learned plenty since this adventure began, with early lessons in the value of
being true to myself,
trusting my readers with my vulnerabilities,
sharing a bit of a laugh.
But the most important thing I've learned in ten years of (almost) daily writing is about the nature of writing itself:
I may choose my jumping-off place but once I begin to write, I have no control over where a story might take me.
^ Mists rolled across the open spaces, rendering mundane parking lots just a little bit spooky.
Before my own adventures in writing began, I read an author explain how characters might suddenly appear in a novel she was writing, and she would then have to figure out who they were and how they served the story. But always, she believed that her work was better for their appearance, and she'd learned to run with them.
What nonsense, I thought at the time. Our imaginations are under our own control and we create art with intention rather than whimsy.
Now I know how perfectly wrong I was.
^ And the lights, which had sensored on in the mid-afternoon, served as oases of the familiar.
My stories often surprise me.
Sometimes, I'll be describing an incident from my past when suddenly a new detail pops into my mind. In a snap, that tidbit sends my narrative veering off in a completely different direction, and my story ends miles away from the conclusion I'd planned.
Other times, I'll describe an insight that's revealing itself in my life, and as my fingers type out the ideas, something fresh fires in my neurons and a whole new level of understanding comes to me in a flash.
Or, as it did today, I sit down to write one story and another story completely usurps the original.
^Headlights also took on an eerie glow, but we trudged on.
Today I was going to tell the story of the time my puppy, Casey, and I got fogged out on a plane trip. It's a fun story, a sweet memory for me, and relatable for anyone who's endured travel dramas of their own. Or just loves puppies.
But as I stared at these photos of my foggy walk from yesterday, the thought came to me that these pics capture exactly what it feels like to write.
^ We found our way back home.
And so, trusting that my new ideas always appear to serve my work, I decided to run with it.
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For fun, check out my very first blog post ever, written ten years ago:
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More stories about marvelous, mysterious fog: