Last Thursday in the Twin Cities was one of those weird weather days with rain in January. The roads were wet, but not icy when I drove to Common Good Books to deliver a writer’s workshop/reading.
I parked just off the alley on a significant incline and didn’t see that the rain there had frozen. When I got out of my car, I slipped, grabbed the car and barely stayed on my feet.
I was profoundly grateful — I would have been mortified to have to limp into the bookstore in wet pants.
After the presentation, I walked very carefully to my car. When I got to the incline where I’d parked, I took tiny, quick steps, barely lifting my feet off the ground so I wouldn’t fall.
About two-thirds of the way up, I lost momentum. I must have paused just for a hundredth of a second, and in that momentary pause, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to step forward without falling. For a moment, I was motionless, then gravity reasserted itself and I slid backwards to the bottom of the incline.
The backward slide was slow, comical and almost graceful. I had my hands full, so I couldn’t flap and flail my arms, which was probably the only thing that kept me from landing on my butt.
I shuffled cautiously toward the street to see if I could walk around a big snow bank and reach my car that way, but that wasn’t an option. I shuffled down the alley in the other direction to see if there was another route that way. There wasn’t.
“Okaaayyy…. Now what?” I wondered again.
I realized I’d have to tack up the hill on a diagonal to the right to reduce the angle, then switch back to the left when I got to the top, and hope for the best.
Here’s the funny thing: I never once thought of abandoning my car. I didn’t question my commitment, my will power, discipline or incline-climbing ability. I didn’t blame myself with indictments like “If I really wanted to get up that hill, I’d be there by now,” or “This would never happen to a real driver.”
I lost momentum, slid backwards and lost all the ground I gained. But I never doubted I’d figure it out and get home.
Is there an icy incline in your writing life? If there is, how can you tack your way up?
Or how did you tack your way through a slippery patch in your writing life to get where you are now?