Encounters

Just a little story here…

Out on my run the other day, I’m going along, head in the clouds so to speak. I’ve said it a bunch, when I’m running, I’m writing.  So, up one street, down another, zig through the graveyard, zag back out.  As I’m on the final stretch, about half a mile from the house, I’ve finally landed on what I believe to be a solution for my current story problem, otherwise known as writer’s block.  What I’ve come to understand is writer’s block, at least in my opinion, is actually when I don’t know what’s supposed to happen next.

But, finally!  I think I have what could work. I’m excited because I’ve been twiddling around with this troublesome area for days.  So, I run a little faster, eager to get back to the keyboard and to move forward with this particular chapter.

And then? I realize something has moved. Something has moved, and I’m practically on it, and I’m in the middle of the street where NOTHING should be moving but me – or a vehicle.

Mr. Red Belly Water Snake

All that rain caused this one’s “cousin” to venture forth to languish in the middle of the road.  He wasn’t small, and in a way that’s funny because how could I MISS an almost four foot snake???  Well, four foot by my estimation because I wasn’t going to, ya know, yank a tape measure out of my running shorts and kneel down on the asphalt and properly size it up.

I stopped running.  Sort of.  Meaning, I kept running in place like one does when you get the heebie jeebies. I couldn’t tell if it was poisonous (it’s not) so I waited for him/her to slither his/her way onto the grass of some neighbor’s yard.  I know.  It’s not as if I was on a narrow trail.  A road’s pretty wide, give it room and move on, right?  Hey, what can I say?  In my writerly head, it could have become twelve feet long.  It could have lunged, (LUNGED!) at me, and the headlines in the local paper would be, “Dunn Woman Attacked By Anaconda.”

It figures I’m doing better at writing THIS story than the one I’m working on.  Anywho, there’s a creek nearby, and I reckon that’s where it was headed. Finally, when I couldn’t see it anymore, I left.  Faster than I’d been going, mind you.

But…that idea I had for my little story problem?  Poof.  Gone.  Since then, I came up with another one, but for the life of me, I sure wish I could remember my original solution.  Maybe if I encounter that snake again, it would scare it back into my memory.

Yeah…um, no thanks.

 

 

 

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COMMENTS

  • Paul Lamb

    May 2, 2017

    Reply

    I’ve found that the good ideas tend to come back.

    • Donna Everhart

      May 2, 2017

      Reply

      Aha. Good point.

      Good riddance then to that lame idea! To that snake, and all the others slinking about, too. Yikes.

  • independentclause

    May 2, 2017

    Reply

    I’ve found that I hope the good ideas come back.

    • Donna Everhart

      May 2, 2017

      Reply

      Snort! Me/you = compatible thinking.

  • Beulah Pope

    May 2, 2017

    Reply

    sure hope that SNAKE wasn’t near my creek. Keep running, & keep your eyes wide open.

    • Donna Everhart

      May 2, 2017

      Reply

      I hope not either Beulah! I was near the one that runs through Pearsall/Divine/Pope??? You bet I’ll be keeping them wide open. I’m about to head out again, as we speak!

  • Mandy Mikulencak

    May 2, 2017

    Reply

    Too funny, Donna! It’s understandable that a snake event would cause you to lose an idea. I sometimes lose them walking from the bathroom back to my office. ;0

    • Donna Everhart

      May 2, 2017

      Reply

      Ha, well, admittedly, I lose them that way too. It’s a lost cause. Pun! 🙂

  • Carolynnwith2Ns

    May 2, 2017

    Reply

    There’s got to a be a reason that snake was in that spot at that time. It was to scare the idea right out of you because it was the wrong one. That’s it. Brain storm – snake – empty head – ass out of town and home, new idea. Yup that’s it.
    Or maybe it was there because it was there.
    Thank God it wasn’t a skunk.

    • Donna Everhart

      May 2, 2017

      Reply

      You mean like…snake karma vs snake charmer?

      How can I think now I’m glad it was a snake, and not a skunk? See? You put that experience into perspective!

  • lilacshoshanwp

    May 2, 2017

    Reply

    OMG, Donna! I’m so happy you are safe! And you’re hilarious. Other than that, I’m with Carolynn here! The snake must have a message for you regarding your story. I’d talk to the snake (in my head. No need to go looking for him again ;-)). Or I’d get into the snake’s character and write down his message—but I’m a self-proclaimed shaman. ? Anywho, I hope the lost solution will come back to you. Fingers crossed! What an adventure you had… <3 <3 <3

    • Donna Everhart

      May 2, 2017

      Reply

      Me? Talk to it? Not even in my dreams, thank you! Although…in all honesty, I have no problems with snakes. I actually have a snake event in the book I’m working on and…!!! Maybe s/he WAS a secret messenger! I’ll leave that interpretation to you and YOUR dreams, and you can share with me. 🙂 <3 <3 <3

  • Eldonna Edwards

    May 2, 2017

    Reply

    Oh my gosh my next book also features a snake encounter. Great minds, right? Here’s to the next great idea! 🙂

    • Donna Everhart

      May 2, 2017

      Reply

      I gotta ask – are you like some other little clairvoyant we know, hmmmm? That’s TWO coincidences with our writing now – I love it! 🙂

  • kittymyers

    May 3, 2017

    Reply

    “What I’ve come to understand is writer’s block, at least in my opinion, is actually when I don’t know what’s supposed to happen next.”

    YES! That’s it! I know when an as-yet-titled script is working in the right direction if I get the title while working on it. Years ago I began writing short stories. One of my first serious efforts was going along nicely, and then I bumped up against the end. What I had planned was corny/awful/silly. Simply downright embarrassing. How I wanted it to end just did not work, which was a shame because everything up until then was good. I had tried to force the ending and the story told me NO. I was blocked, so I shelved it for years. And then one day, out of the blue, the ending came to me. That’s how I learned to listen to the story.

    • Donna Everhart

      May 3, 2017

      Reply

      Isn’t it strange the ways we eventually come around to understand? For a long time, I never thought of writer’s block in this way I’ve mentioned. I used to think it was simply not having The Big Idea. But it’s even more than that. It’s sometimes as simple as a character’s reaction in the story.

      On this run, I was struggling over how a particular character was going to enter my story, and exit quickly. I’d mentioned this character at the beginning, and then realized I was halfway through the book and, “oops, I’ve forgotten all about her! I’ve got to include her in the story!” So, I wrote two chapters, and it was while I was on the run and had my friendly snake encounter, I figured out how to “allow” her to exit. And even now, I just had another thought about how I keep filter her in and out of it, so she’s not like something dropped in at random.

      TITLES. Funny that…I get the titles sometimes FIRST. Not always, but YES, I agree, you know you’ve sort of landed on what can work if that happens while writing…it may be the premise, or some all encompassing theme. It’s fascinating to me.

  • Craig

    May 3, 2017

    Reply

    At leas the encounter didn’t happen whist you were whistling past the graveyard on a coll May morn.

    I have seen red-bellied water snakes twice, up in the northern corners of my state. Down here we have banded, green and brown water snakes. Constrictors, like anacondas and pythons haven’t gotten this far north yet, but the year is still young. Right now it it the small, poisonous snakes that scare me. My plumbing accident happened when I popped open the meter to turn the water off and a dozen or so snap happy pygmy rattlers popped out. The one I didn’t see was the one.

    I have yet to have writers block. Of course I haven’t yet been faced with a deadline. I am sure it will catch up to me when I do have a looming deadline though.

    Feel welcome to e-mail me whenever you need to.

  • Craig

    May 3, 2017

    Reply

    And yes, there is supposed to be an l in whilst.

    • Donna Everhart

      May 4, 2017

      Reply

      Okay, just the name “pygmy rattlers, is enough to send me off the edge. In general, I am NOT a heebie jeebie run in place sort of person, but I was so surprised by how close I got to the Red Belly, it set off…what we’ll call a knee jerk reaction. Literally. Ha!

      Did you get bitten??? You said, the one you didn’t see was the one. That sounds ominous. Living where you do I’m sure you have a LOT more of these sorts of encounters, and not with just snakes. Eeek.

      Yeah, a deadline can definitely cause some angst. In the past if I didn’t like an idea, I could think about it, knock other stuff around, try this, try that, ya know, mess with it more. Nowadays, it’s more about, “okay, that’ll have to do for now, leave it and move on.”

      Thanks for that offer Craig, I’ll keep that in mind in case I need another opinion about something!

  • Micki Browning

    May 8, 2017

    Reply

    I had to laugh. I was running in California with a friend when my foot almost came down on a tarantula. I about levitated onto his shoulders and to this day, neither one of us has figured out how I changed direction mid-stride. There certainly wasn’t any thinking involved.

    • Donna Everhart

      May 8, 2017

      Reply

      I bet you’d shove me off the side of a boat too if I said I’m afraid of fish in the water. 🙂 (not the pretty ones…just those real ugly bastards)

      A tarantula. Egad. Hm. My choices…snake or spider the size of a bus, snake or spider size of a bus…I’ll take…snake!

      • Micki Browning

        May 8, 2017

        Reply

        Maaaaybee…. But I’m a trained rescue diver, so you know, once I stopped laughing I’d save you. ; ) Plus I wouldn’t do it before you released Road to Bittersweet. I have my priorities.

        • Donna Everhart

          May 9, 2017

          Reply

          Too funny! 🙂


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