“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way. You don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you.” E.L. Doctorow I came across this quote about the writing process the other day, but I think it is right up there as some of the best advice on Life, I’ve heard in a while.
This really hit me right between the eyes yesterday when I drove to a friend’s house for dinner. She lives on Parrott Mountain. It’s really not much of a mountain, but for this city girl driving an SUV that still feels just a tad too big to handle + some steep curves + narrow (sometimes gravel) roads, + a lack of decent night vision = the whole drive kinda spooked me. I arrived at her place already worrying about the drive back down and wanting to make sure I did that drive while it was still light. It was in the back of my mind all evening and was obvious to the three dear women who were my dinner companions. I was very cautious about my wine intake (not a bad thing that) and I was keeping one eye on the clock. I let fear of some future unknown possibility lurk around and try to push out my enjoyment of the moment. I pushed it aside. It pushed back. Fear does that if you let it.
We had a lovely time talking, laughing, eating a delicious dinner and finally playing a game called Mexican Train. This game has many different rules, so we played by whatever rule worked in the moment. I was playing by whatever rule would end the game quicker. This didn’t work. The “ladies” (and after several glasses of vino, I’m using that term very loosely) called me out on my obvious worry. Here’s the comment that hit the nail squarely on the head “You are planning to be a world traveler with a backpack and you are afraid to drive in the dark? How’s that gonna work?” Well, yes I am. So, I probably won’t be doing any night driving in any other country either. But, I got the point… clearly, I’ve got some work to do here.
And, because I’m sure you want to know, here’s how the evening ended. Despite all my worry and planning, it got late and I was doomed to driving down the mountain in the DARK. So, I followed a friend who knew the road, took an easier way and drove a little slower than she normally would have to lead me to the highway in about five minutes. Piece of cake. Why did I get all up in my head over nothing? How many times do I let myself do this? Way too many. I think most people do in some way – maybe just not about driving in the dark.
Oh, and I did a little checking and it turns out I’m not the only one who has a problem driving in the dark.