|Not my purse! Photo credit: Homegrown Skinny's Flickr photostream.|
Today, while shopping with my daughter, I picked up a handbag and studied it for a long time. I'm about to embark on some lengthy overseas travel, and I need a lightweight, smallish purse I can fold up and put in my luggage until I arrive at my destination so I don't have as much to keep up with while flying.
I tested out the pockets--especially the small one a cell phone might fit inside. It was a little tight. Another pocket looked like it would probably work, and besides, I can't use my cell much while traveling in another country unless I want to pay a big bill when I get home.
I thought it would work, but the more I studied the bag, the less I was sure. Was it the right color? The right size? The right configuration of pockets? I finally hung it back on the rack and walked away. But while at the register paying for the things my daughter had selected, I kept eyeing it. I grabbed it again and studied it some more, then handed it to the cashier. "I can always bring it back later if I change my mind," I said, and she nodded politely.
On the way out, I reached inside the handbag I currently carry to check for my phone, as I tend to do frequently while out in public. It wasn't in the regular spot. I started to reach into other pockets to be sure I hadn't misplaced it. Then I said to my daughter, "Oh, no! I wonder if I left it inside that purse I kept looking at!" In my panic, I'd already forgotten I'd bought it. My daughter reached down into the shopping bag and felt the purse. Sure enough, my phone was in the second pocket I'd tried it in.
I took a big breath and laughed. "I guess I was meant to buy this purse!" I said, thinking of the various scenarios had I left it somewhere else inside the store. It's an iPhone 5. The chances of someone returning it had they come across it are probably not as good as you'd think, though I always like to think the best of people.
A few minutes later, I remembered I was supposed to post on the blog today and it had completely slipped my mind. (Obviously, my brain cells are limited right now--I've done 23 events since Calling Me Home released in February, and here I am planning overseas travel, too!)
I said to my daughter, "I guess I can post about the purse that was meant to be." She looked at me blankly, and said, "What, do you just post whatever you want?"
I said, "Yes, but you'd be surprised at the connections we manage to make!"
It hit me then (and I told her, and she looked reasonably amazed):
We writers often waste a lot of time worrying about whether we should write a certain story.
We're always putting our toes in, testing the water for temperature, going back and forth trying to decide if it's the right story, the right time, the right place, the right ... whatever.
Imagine if we spent more of that time just diving in and swimming in the river of it. What would we have to lose?
Not much unless we kept going long after figuring out it was the wrong story.
And what might we gain?
Perhaps a story that was meant to be.
Kind of like the purse that was meant to be. I should have just stopped wasting time and put it in my cart, knowing I could return it easily later. Instead, I waffled around all that time, then walked away. Thank goodness I picked it up again. I would have lost more than time if I hadn't.