I walk to work a lot. In Autumn, I like to kick the leaves beneath my feet and feel the biting chill on my nose. In Winter, I like to skid along the icy paths telling myself that I am a penguin. And penguins hardly ever fall over.
Sometimes I like to pretend I am on my way to a book signing or to meet an author and ask them burning questions like what’s it like on the other side? And, do you still write for fun and enjoy the little victories? Is that a pink wafer biscuit you’re eating? I like to pretend my laptop bag is full of books and my other laptop, the one where I’m allowed to write and fiddle and type until the early hours. I like to pretend all of this as I walk to work.
Recently, while pretending the ground was a trail up an Appalachian mountain and my bag full of supplies for exploration, or maybe that I was hand delivering an important manuscript to some guy waiting in a park in a trench coat, I was head-butted and then promptly kicked by a stranger as I rounded a corner.
It wasn’t a deliberate assault in broad daylight but it still knocked the wind out of me, and left me feeling woozy. I still had that crushing bite of defeat as it happened because on that day I discovered being head-butted actually hurts, like a whole lot. Upon reflection maybe it was my fault for meandering. Maybe it was his fault for speed-walking without looking. Maybe I shouldn’t have used the split second I had before impact to turn away and catch the blow on the side of my face. Maybe I should have made more of a fuss before it happened, or even after when all I really said was OOOOOOOFT followed by I’M FINE three times in a row in case anyone needed reassuring more than me that I was okay.
Other than leaving me with a headache, and a swollen knee, I gained something else on that day. Understanding that the unthinkable and bizarre can happen.
If I can get head-butted on my way to work, why can’t you get published in a month’s time with something you’ve only just started writing now? If I can limp into work with my pride hurt more than anything else, why isn’t it possible that by the end of the year you will have finished that one story you never could complete? Why isn’t it possible that you might be happy with the results? If this incident has taught me anything (aside from to be careful when walking around corners and to assume the brace position where possible) it’s that we all wake up in the morning with some grand idea about how our day and our lives are going to go but it’s all nonsense. Anything that can happen will happen.
When it comes to head-butting that is a major bummer because srsly ow but when it comes to our words and our ambitions Murphy’s law is the most exciting thing in the universe. What’s exciting to you today?