Posts Tagged ‘cars’

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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Blending In

I’m shopping for a new car. When we bought the last one (sometime in the Late Middle Ages), we made sure to get a green one, because we didn’t want to have the same silver model that everyone else seemed to be ordering. We wanted something that would stand out in the parking lot when we’d forgotten where we parked. This worked well, except when someone else had also bought a green car, since ours was apparently the only model available in green, so there was occasionally confusion. But we never drove off in the wrong car, so it worked out okay.

That doesn’t seem to be an option any more. Try buying a green car. I dare you. Yeah, the Minis and little cars that don’t care who laughs at them because they actually enjoy having a personality come in colors, but mostly you get black, white, and grey/silver. Most brands have five versions of those shades, and maybe one red. One brand had ten colors, including two whites, two dark blues, and two greys. I think they had a red. And a brown. Green? No. Yellow/light blue/purple? Please, you’re making me laugh.

I blame 9/11. Ever since then we’ve been cocooning, hiding from the world, not wanting to stand out. Drive a silver car. Blend with the herd.

Which leads, oddly enough, to a revelation about writing. My writing. My reading tastes were fashioned (as they usually are) as a child. And even though I spent five years at a major university reading literature, my heart was rarely in it, because I don’t like to read “literature.” The problem is that I’d like to write it; at least “literature” as understood by the SF community. (A topic for a later time.) There’s been a lot of controversy lately about awards, and what they should mean. Some of the commenters have stated for the record that they don’t care about awards. Well, I do. I’d love to win one. But that isn’t going to happen if I write silver (Age) fiction. So I’m going to be making a conscious effort to raise my reading standards, in hopes that it will raise my writing standards. We’ll see how that goes.

In the meantime, I’ll be looking for a non-silver, non-black car. Because if you don’t want to blend in, at some point you have to stand out.


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