I have been searching in vain for a support group catering to the geographically challenged. Moving to a new city a few weeks ago means that I often have no idea where I am. His voice filling with desperation my husband beseeches, “Don’t you know that P___ Street is east of us?” I don’t even know where east is.
Slowly, I am recognizing certain streets and landmarks. I am beginning to find my way to the supermarket and library without aimless meandering. Even as I do so, I know that I can’t be alone. Understandably, a support group would be difficult to organize. By the time the participants found their way to the venue, the meeting time would be over.
Nonetheless, my desperate driving as I seek in vain for a friendly street sign is a human experience I share with others. As someone who sometimes dreams of writing a book, it is with a sinking heart that I acknowledge that someone, sometime, will seize on my ‘disablity’ and flesh out a character whose thoughts and actions will mimic my own.
This has happened to me before. I had a jolt of recognition once upon reading a novel and seeing my own emotions aptly caught. One of the characters had submitted an article to a competition and then decided that it was so awful that she didn’t even look up the results (where she, of course, was the winner). The first time I submitted an article to a magazine and months of silence passed, I began to worry that perhaps they didn’t want such an atrocious writer to read their periodical. After all, my submission wasn’t even worthy of a rejection letter! I was on the verge of embarrassedly canceling my subscription when a check arrived in the mail with an advance copy of the issue that included my story.
So, I do expect to meet my geographically challenged counterpart in a story one day. Why don’t I use my ever-so-human predilections myself to write a novel, winning fame and fortune? It is for the same reason that many of us have great business ideas that we don’t execute or envision adventures that never actualize.
Thinking of ideas is easy. Executing them is not. As I visualize myself writing in a cozy ship’s cabin with exquisite views through the portholes, someone else is getting up at 4 a.m. in a dingy apartment and writing for two hours before starting their day. As Thomas Sowell writes, when we don’t accomplish what we wish, we are usually the reason.
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