So, this is exactly what I’m talking about. I woke early this morning to put final comments on some poems for a community workshop I’ve been trying to attend for months. I finally had all my ducks in a row: I had written a new poem for the workshop, I had diligently read and re-read the other participants’ poems, I had commented intelligently and awoken early to get ready.
And then. The propane company called to say they would be there at 10 o’clock to fill my desperately empty tank. The same time the workshop was scheduled to begin. Okay. I have to have heat. I mean, I live in Mississippi and all, but it still gets pretty darn cold here at night. So, no problem. I’m committed. I call the workshop leader, tell her I’ll be late – but I’ll be there.
My trusty propane technician busted a joint on a water line while trying to light the pilot on the hot water heater…which is located upstairs and directly above my kitchen. While I was running around finding pots and bowls to catch the water and covering the quickly growing pools of water on the floor with towels, I couldn’t help but laugh at how life gets in the way of even the best laid plans. Once again, I called the workshop leader to inform her that I would not, after all, be making it to this morning’s workshop.
The propane people have left with a promise to repair the ceiling that will have to be completely torn out and replaced. The fans are pointed to the floor, drying the remnants of our little indoor rain shower. And I have thirty minutes before I have to leave to pick up a friend at the airport.
But, you know what? I’m smiling. I’m smiling because I’m learning a very important lesson right now. Even though I missed the workshop, even though I had intended to spend a couple of hours working on an essay that has a deadline fast approaching and was unable to, even though I didn’t get to hear my peers’ feedback on the new poem I wrote – I’m writing now. Right now. With 15 minutes left before my trip to the airport, I’m writing. And what’s more, I couldn’t wait for the guys who created this mess to leave so that I could sit down and write. Even if only for a few minutes.
We all need heat and water – even if it’s falling from the ceiling and dripping into our great-aunt’s antique tea cups. Especially when it’s falling from the ceiling. We need it like writers need words and a reminder that, well, shit happens. Work around it. Keep at it. Never, ever, ever stop.