Tuesday, April 6, 2010

An Unexpected Detour


I had yesterday all planned. It was the last day of Easter holidays, so I was going to take my kids shopping, get some baking done and generally clean up my clutter-filled house. I even had the lofty ambition to get started on my basement. I threw the first load of washing into the dryer and put the second load into the washer. About 15 minutes later, I realized the dryer had stopped. Odd. The clothes couldn't be dry yet - but maybe I had lost track of time (not an entirely implausible situation). But no. The dryer had died. Kaput.

Visions of dollars flying out the window danced in my brain. This is a fairly old dryer - and my washing machine is so old I'm amazed it's still sudsing away. How old is it? Let's put it this way - it washed diapers and my eldest is in Grade 11.

Time for buying new machines. Not now, but right now. Problem: I had no car yesterday. I was now sitting with half-dry clothes in the dryer and sopping wet clothes in the washer. I draped some of the clothes about the house ( it's a new decorating style that I think should have its day) and last night the other clothes went to get dried in the laundromat.

Needless to say, my day did not go as planned.

This got me to thinking, what would happen in our stories if something suddenly stopped working? What if the power went out? Or the phones went dead? Or transportation wasn't easily available? Sometimes it's fun to think sideways and figure out new ways of doing things.

Unexpected hurdles can be great plot twists - in fiction. In life, not so much. Today, I hunt for a new washer and dryer. I'm hoping for a detourless path.

15 comments:

  1. Elspeth - I feel for you. We've had that happen, too. Once, our dryer fried (and I mean, quite literally) an entire load of laundry, so not only did we have to replace the dryer, but we also had to buy a bunch of new clothes. Not fun.

    I admire you for having the perspective to think about how this might work in our writing. You're giving me all kinds of creative ideas, as you always do : ). I'm sorry about the appliance debacle, but thanks for the creativity jolt : ).

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  2. Good luck with the hunt! Life tends to throw us little curve balls when we least expect them.

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  3. Margot; I'm glad to help with the creativity jolt - let's hope it's not as frying an effect as what your dryer did to your clothes!

    Stephanie; Life does tend to be like that, doesn't it? I'm hoping this is the last curve ball for a while!

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  4. Oooh yeah, I've had plenty of those days, lol. Gotta just go with the flow, allow serendipity to happen, gain some experience you would not have gotten if everything went "according to plan" and then you will gain from the experience and not go completely mad. (wink)

    Marvin D Wilson

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  5. That's a really good question. What if our stories stopped working? Sometimes when my stories stopped, I come up with the best ideas.

    ann

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  6. Old Silly; It was a lesson in 'go with the flow' for sure! I don't know what I've gained from the experience other than don't count on dryers drying. I'm sure there's something else.

    Ann; I've found that looking at it sideways can give me wonderful ideas.

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  7. I hate it when appliances stop working--or anything for that matter. But to look at it from a writing perspective while it is happening. Well, I bow down to you, girlfriend.
    Awesome.
    Karen

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  8. As I read this, my washer is shaking and leaking all over the laundry room floor, and the dryer has to be turned on twice and a half to get one load dry.

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  9. I hate when machines don't work as they should. I hate more when they die. Insert your favorite four letter words here. That's how much I hate it. Hope you have a successful search for replacements.

    I love when the unexpected happens in a novel. But only once or twice or I unleash those four letter words on the author.

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  10. Karen; I tried to find the silver lining somewhere - in between winces of how much this is going to cost. GRRRRR.

    KarenG; Welcome to my world; I'm having jackets made.

    Carol; Indeed! Several of my favourite four letter words were uttered. With much feeling and fervor. I'm with you with the unexpected in a novel - honestly, more than twice and I'm rolling my eyes and putting it down.

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  11. I love how you can come out with such positive writing advice from such a negative start to your day.

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  12. I hope you found some good deals today! Good luck with it.

    My characters are tinkerers & it's been fun having some things fritz out at the wrong time :)

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  13. Oh I hate that! My dryer went last year, and I ended up getting something with a moisture sensor and a buzzer and a zillion features I didn't need. Seems you can't find a simple dryer anymore. Good luck with your shopping!

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  14. Bummer about the dryer!

    Given the period you (and I) write about you have endless opportunities for things going wrong for your characters. Bombs falling randomly from the sky being just one example.

    Al

    Publish or Perish

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  15. I hate it when electronic things die, whether it's the dishwasher or the computer. And I hate it even worse when the dying gadget makes a mess, like a major hot water heater leak. Once upon a time I started a novel about survivors of a major disaster where electronics were no more. It was so depressing I didn't get beyond chapter one.

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