When I took my dog to the vet at Pet Smart for a vaccination
booster, I fully expected to encounter the usual sort of household pets—other
pups, cats or the occasional guinea pig. But I never anticipated walking in the
door with a llama.
A llama that calmly donned hats and glasses for all the
photo ops that promptly ensued. Customers, groomers, sales people, vets and
assistants abandoned their posts and gathered round to pet (only the neck,
please, his owner warned) and pose.
My dog took full advantage of the chaos to try to escape,
entangling herself around the end display and me. After we were finally settled
in our assigned room, I reflected on how special it was to find myself in just
the right place at just the right moment for an encounter with the unexpected.
That’s often the way it is—even for the most diligent of
planners among us—the best things sometimes come at us slant, not head-on. As
they did at the writers conference I recently attended.
Not having any work in progress to pitch to my agent or an
editor, I went expecting to learn about forms I don’t usually do, like poetry
and flash fiction. Craft techniques.
And although I did indeed learn much about writing in those
workshops, it was the unexpected tidbits about life, delivered from hallways,
classrooms, and podiums that ended up latching onto me.
I applied them to the stuck place of my writing, but I
suspect they fit anywhere. I leave you with these bits of wisdom. Let me know
what you think:
Alton Gansky on not daring to try, or overcoming
the fear of rejection: “No one ever hit a homerun from the dugout.”
Michelle Medlock Adams on too much self-editing:
“Let God define who you are.”
John W., 97 years old: On living life to the fullest:
“Don’t act like you are dead until God says you are.”