|Lunacy, sheer lunacy. |
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Kind of a bike story, but mostly an analogy
Once, when I was about ten, I was riding my bike home from school. We lived in Bundaberg at the time. No hills, so there wasn’t a lot of pedalling involved. Anyway, at the time I didn’t tie my shoelaces. This was cool for some reason. Very devil-may-care. Bitches, check my dangly laces, Danger is my middle name. Or something.
I was riding along Avenell Street when a strange grating noise told me something wasn't right. I looked down to discover both of my shoe laces were caught in my bike chain. Now I’m not an engineer, but it didn’t take long to see the problem: every time I pedalled, the laces wound tighter. Very soon I wouldn’t be able to pedal at all.
I’m not a physicist either, but I did understand that if I stopped moving forward I would fall over.
I was two blocks from home. This would go down to the wire.
I pedalled, and my laces were pulled further into the chain.
I turned into Harvey Street. My heart was thumping wildly.
I coasted as far as I could, and then pedalled again.
(Allow me to up the tension here by saying this occurred in the days before it was compulsory to wear bike helmets, and I was not wearing one.)
I’d just hit the corner of McLachlan Drive when it happened -- the chain jammed and I couldn’t shift the pedals.
I don’t know if all of the neighbours heard me screaming for my mother as I coasted down the street, but I had a decent audience by the time I wobbled onto our pebbled driveway -- Pebbles, I ask in my best Indiana Jones impression, why did it have to be pebbles? -- still screaming, desperately hoping my mother would hear me.
She did hear me, as it happens, and appeared out the front door just in time to see me topple over like a hysterical skittle. I don’t remember a lot about what happened next. I know it took a pair of scissors to cut me free from my bike chain, and more than a few Band-Aids to patch me up, and I remember my mother’s astute observation, delivered in a slightly sarcastic tone once she made sure I wasn't bleeding to death, that there is a good reason most people tie their shoelaces.
And now for the analogy bit. Because I promised it wasn’t a bike story, right? No, this is a writing story. It is how I’m feeling about my current WIP, and it might be how you’re feeling about yours as well:
1. Sometimes you’ll struggle like hell and get nowhere.
2. Sometimes, the harder you work the worse things get.
3. Sometimes you’ll reach the end only to collapse in a screaming heap.
4. Sometimes your Mum will have to patch you up.
5. Despite the grazes, the bruises and the laughter of your neighbours, you’ll get back on the bike tomorrow.
So let’s do this until we get it right. Helmet on, shoelaces tied -- because don’t say we don’t learn from our mistakes -- and we’re off. And you know what? We’ll get there in the end!