Posts Tagged ‘accidents’

Somebody sideswiped my car in a parking lot recently. Not a lot of damage, but a lot of stress. Now you get to share.

It’s funny how writing can be compared to so many other things in life, baseball, commuting, sexice cream … and now car accidents. I guess this is because fiction deals with all aspects of life. (More likely it’s because writing is an endeavor so fraught with problems that everyone can relate.)

  1. You never know when something’s going to hit you. It might be a phrase, an idea, or an SUV. You never know.
  2. Once it happens, the results are unimaginable. Which is strange, because writing is imagination. But will it become a story? Will it sell? Will your insurance go up?
  3. Your fate is in the hands of others. You send the story to an editor. You send your car to the shop. When will they return? Who knows?
  4. You have no idea who’s going to pay whom. Will the editor pay you? Will your insurance pay you? Or was all of this some expensive mistake?
  5. Where it all ends up is a mystery. Maybe the editor will publish you. Maybe the editor will reject you. Maybe you’ll get your car back. Maybe it will be totaled. See item nos. 2 and 3.
  6. You will wonder if it’s all worth it. Should you give it up? Should you take the bus?
  7. It will give you an idea. Maybe you should write about a man who has an accident. Maybe you should write about a man who decides to take the bus. Maybe you should write about a man who becomes a bus driver!
  8. You realize that this random event has given you an idea that  you weren’t expecting. You re-read item no. 1.
  9. You realize there is no escape. Accidents will happen. Editors will reject you.
  10. You resolve to do better next time. You will watch the cross-traffic. You will observe the traffic lights. You will avoid the omniscient viewpoint and the present tense.

Bonus: Having an accident and writing a story have this in common: You will never forget what it felt like.



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This is a departure for this blog. I usually talk about writing-related subjects, or literature, and even then I try to bring in a writing angle. It may be narrow, but writing is what I do, and you’re supposed to write about what you know. Which is why this time I’m writing about being grateful for being alive.

About an hour ago, I was heading out to buy a burrito for dinner. (And no, that’s not why I almost died.) En route is a four-way stop where I need to make a left turn to get to the shopping center. I have seen people slide through that stop when no one is waiting many times, which makes me wary, and today was no exception. So when I saw a guy barely slow down as I approached the intersection, it made me even more cautious. I stopped, and when I started to make my turn, I paid close attention to the oncoming traffic. Except instead on “oncoming,” it was more like “incoming.”

An SUV was headed for me at 35 miles per hour, and it wasn’t stopping. I slammed on my brakes, and she did too, which didn’t keep her from skidding to a halt in the middle of the intersection in front of me, where had I kept going she would have neatly bisected my car. And as she gave a little wave of apology, I saw her phone in her hand.

If you don’t live in California, you should know that using a cellphone while driving is a major traffic violation.* You should also know that I have twice been struck (in another car) by drivers who ran red lights–while on the phone.

This is the moral I wish to draw from these occurrences: If you use your phone while you drive, you are going to kill someone.

Had I been paying less attention, you would have killed me.


*No, I wasn’t able to get her license.

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