Surviving a day sans laptop without suffering permanent psychological damage (that I’m aware of) is a miraculous feat. That I accomplished it during the Freshly Pressed frenzy is even more impressive. The fact that I did it in the relatively unprotected outdoors (no dead-bolted, reinforced doors, locked windows and security system) is simply amazing.
Yeah, I know there are places in the world where people sleep with windows wide open and doors unlocked. Go ahead. Brag about it. Sadly, the big city isn’t one of those places. Home invasions make it into evening news casts regularly.
Now, I have the ability to think rationally (I just choose not to.) Statistically, I know that my chances of experiencing a home invasion are relatively small when I factor in the number attacks vs. the population. I am also aware that I am most likely to get injured because of a car accident (I have a long commute to work, and…have you seen the way these people drive???)
Okay, back to the camping story. We had trouble getting the camping trailer hitched to our truck. The lever wouldn’t slide down into the locked position. I just knew this was a sign that we should stay home, in our secure house. But, after forty-five minutes of my husband muttering things that I cannot repeat, and three calls to the place that sold us the trailer, we had the solution: it involved forcing the locking mechanism down with a hammer and a block of wood. Who knew?
It worked, and we were on our way. I was a little apprehensive about being outside…in the dark all night…vulnerable to whatever would be out there. But if we didn’t go, we would have ended up with two disappointed, cranky children. Dealing with my trepidation was definitely the more bearable option.
After dark, my imagination started messing with me. I heard things that no one else could hear. As I curled up in my sleeping bag, I pined for my laptop. I just wanted a little, tiny peek at the Freshly Pressed status. I’m pretty sure this is a warning flare for a deeper issue, but I choose to ignore those pesky signs until I end up with a beast of a problem. Hmmm…this could be one of the reasons why I never did anything with that Psychology degree. Just a hunch.
My mind needed something to do, I decided. I retrieved my book and a little tap light and slinked down into my sleeping bag to continue my read of The Oath (by Frank Peretti.) Of course, I was at the point where the main character was stalking the dragon and he felt the wind pick up, tree tops swaying as the dragon swooshed over him. At the same time, the canvas on our trailer whipped from a gust of wind. Freaked out, I woke my husband up.
“Did you hear that?” Another gust of wind flapped the trailer sides.
“Are you sure?”
“What do you think it is?”
Like I could tell him it could be the dragon. “Nothing, I guess.”
Then I started worrying about who could be out there. Nearby campers were quiet. No more hollering children- or the parents yelling at them. No more crackling campfires either.
“This canvas isn’t very thick,” I whispered. “Someone could easily slash through it and get in here.”
“Yeah. I suppose they could.”
“Do you think they would?”
“Why would they?”
“I don’t know. To kill us, take our money and sell our children on the black market.”
Pause. “You think they would sell?”
I got the hint: I was being ridiculous and he wanted to sleep.
The vulnerability I felt that night while camping was familiar. It wasn’t until I started writing this post that the thought hit (attacked) me: it’s the same feeling I get when I write something outside of my (locked up tight) comfort zone. It’s the exposed feeling I had when I wrote “Legend of the Scorpion” for my son and the exhilaration when he didn’t hate it. It’s the uneasiness I felt when I wrote Kharma’s Way because I wasn’t sure if I could pull off the religious character (and his struggles to stay true)…and the pleasure that replaced the doubt when the story turned out okay (in my opinion.)
It’s the same feeling I have as I think about the genre change I’m looking at for my next writing adventure. Will the story be any good? I really don’t know. But making a new path without a road map is exhilarating; the adrenaline fuels my writing self. And I’d rather get this rush firmly planted in my desk chair than say, bungee jumping 😉
Do you venture off the beaten writing path? I’d love to hear about your adventures!