I almost died 25 years ago.
By that, I mean that my stated plan in life was to be dead by the time I was 30. Live fast, die young, and all that. It seemed like a very cool aspiration as a teenager, to go out in a blaze of glory. But had I actually succeeded, it would not been a blaze of glory that took me. A more likely cause would have been a blaze started by careless use of smoking materials while in a drunken stupor.
Then there was my plan as an adolescent to be a rock star. Fame and fortune, babes, money. All these things awaited me when my plan came true. All I needed was to acquire talent, something for which I found myself wholly unwilling to work. I just wanted it to happen to me.
I have made many plans throughout the years. Some have become reality, but most have not. And not all of them failed to come to fruition due to a lack of hard work. I worked very hard at some things which I felt certain would pay off in the end, only to find myself nowhere near completion. But the real surprise was just how many things in my life, wild, amazing, incredible successes, came about with absolutely no planning. My current career, for example. I took a class with one short term result planned, but ended up with an entirely different set of results. One of those was an abrupt turn in my career path which left me with a whole new set of options. And they were much better than the possibilities I had imagined.
I was told many years ago to plan the plan, but not to plan the result. That I was free to pour my energies into a particular goal, but I should not become too heavily invested in a particular outcome from those efforts. And that has proven to be some very good advice. When I allow things to unfold according to their natural order, the surprises that unfold with them are generally riches of a type I never imagined. As I once heard it put in meeting, God is not limited by my imagination.
So why the talk about planning? You may recall my proclamation about a month ago that I was about to find myself with extra time to write. Oh, the places I would go! The wonders that lay ahead of me as I spent all this extra time hunched in front of my computer, cranking out masterpieces. The only problem is, I was wrong. Since that proclamation, I have published exactly 2 blog posts. I wrote one other, but it hasn’t been published yet, due to some problems with copyright infringement. (Okay. I was trying to tell a story that isn’t 100% my own and I need to clear it with The Committee.)
So my big plan for extra writing got derailed by reality. Once again, the reality is much better than the plan. Instead of writing a bunch of pieces about what was rattling around inside of my own head and asking you to read that, I ended up working on a collaborative work. It is a series of call and response pieces about what was rattling around in my head, with responses by a lone individual who would respond to my thoughts, or add in thoughts of her own. This collaborative effort may or may not become an actual published work, but I think there is a good chance that some day people will be reading this compilation in one form or another. Ironic, since I swore recently that such a thing was absolutely out of the question. Yet I find myself thinking that it could be really cool to do just that. I find myself reading and rereading the first draft on a regular basis and seeing that it is indeed an interesting story, well told. Not bad at all.
It could be a real learning experience to edit this work. And it would be a great learning experience to work on something of an artistic vision in a collaborative manner. I have done that before, but never on something as personal as writing. To learn how to take two views that may not be the same and weave them into a unified vision that is stronger than the sum of its parts would be a challenge, to be sure. But it would also, I believe, add a whole new set of tools to my arsenal, making me an even better writer.
But I am not here to tell about all that. I just had to share this delicious little irony. The reason I was going to have all this extra time to write was that someone with whom I spend a lot of time writing was going to be largely unavailable for a month. Because of that, I would have plenty of time to write. But I didn’t.
Her plane hasn’t even touched down on her return visit, and already my first blog post is published. God, I love irony!