Wednesday, March 22, 2006


So.  It's five days into the "please, story, talk to me" request, and I thought I'd report in.

I am so definitely not writing this story in order.  Not in ANY kind of order.  Yesterday I wrote a scene I kept seeing because of the first track on the soundtrack of A Beautiful Mind.

Did I share that story here?  Heidi's wild trip to purchase a CD?  Nope – in checking, I see the last entry was Saturday.  Well, basically on Sunday I stumbled onto the website of the movie A Beautiful Mind because I was cracking half-nervous jokes about how all my notecards and scribbles all over the bulletin board that takes up half my bedroom wall was making me feel like the guy from that movie, and then I wondered what his name was so I googled, and suddenly I was on the movie's website which played music from the soundtrack.  It was one of those in-your-gut OHHHHHH moments where you can't decide if you want to weep or laugh, because I heard about four bars of that stuff and knew I had to have it.  But iTunes was not helpful, uncharacteristically, and nobody in town had it.  And on a weird, weird hunch, I was sure they had it in West Des Moines, so I drove the hour to get there and sure enough, there it was. 

I just about started this next paragraph with a dismissive, "well, anyway," but I can't.  I've got to talk about that trip.  Because you need to know my husband and daughter were at home having a lazy Sunday, and as far as they knew I was driving half an hour to Ankeny to pick up some Nature's Miracle at Petsmart, and would maybe do a little hunting for that CD on the way.  There was no mention of being gone a total of two hours to go hunting for a CD I had no proof was anywhere, just a weird but powerful hunch.  And I also have to confess I didn't call and tell anybody, because I needed to just leap and go, not checking to make sure it was okay, just doing it.  I figured I had my phone and they'd call if they needed to, and I was just ready to take my lumps if I had any coming for being the crazy person who had to go chase a CD. 

(There were none, btw.  Not only did Dan not mind, he told people the story at work and said this kind of stuff was why he loved me.  I get misty-eyed every time I tell somebody that.  How did I ever get so lucky to find somebody who loved me BECAUSE I was crazy?)

On Sunday my little pilgrimage was scary but important.  On Monday it felt weird.  Yesterday I mostly didn't think about it.  But today as I'm writing this blog entry, I'm starting to realize that trip was a metaphor bigger than I can yet grasp.  I think that was a lesson in trusting my instinct.  I suspected that as early as Sunday, but that little road trip is going to come at me for years to come, I'd wager.  I wish I could describe what it was like to just know in my bones that CD was out there and that I had to have it.  Man, did I have to fight my Sensible German Lutheran Training.  The whole drive it nattered at me.  "You're being ridiculous.  You're being rude to your family.  You're wasting time.  You're silly.  You're stupid."  Every damn script I've ever had in my head, on and on it went.  But I could still see the CD, and all around it I could feel this pull that if I acted on this "ridiculous, rude, stupid" trip, I'd have something huge in my hands.

And just to add extra drama to the story, I had a specific place in my head for the CD to be, and it wasn't there.  I saw the Barnes and Noble on University Avenue in West Des Moines.  I saw it clear as day, and I knew the CD was there.  I got lost twice trying to find it, I sweated bullets at how long I was taking, and when I got there I saw the soundtrack to Beautiful Girls and something else with the word beautiful in it, but no ABM.  And let me tell you, I searched all the As, the Bs, and the Cs thinking it might have been misplaced.

Then something significant, really significant happened.  The SGLT nattering came down like a hammer, and without even thinking, I metaphorically reached up and knocked it away.  I wasn't shamed, I was pissed.  I'd seen that damn CD here.  It was damn well going to be here.

I decided instinct might need to be fine tuned, so I regrouped.  Murmuring, "Please, please, please" all the way to my car, I went to the Best Buy around the corner, with plans to hit the Borders across the square failing that.  The damn CD was sure as hell going to be somewhere in West Des Moines, or it was answering to me. 

It was sitting patiently waiting at Best Buy.  I gave a loud "Ha!" of triumph, snatched it, and went home. 

You know, this happens so much in my writing.  Usually not with CDs and cars and trips to Des Moines, but I have thresholds like this all the time.  Brick walls where I stand there and think how stupid I am for trying, where nothing seems to make sense and I have to take some crazy risk that there is no logic behind, only some strange, lonely instinct that never protects me, only asks me to cross the barbed wire of foolishness or the hot coals of shame to claim what it always whispers, quietly, is something very good.  I never have to go get it, either.  I could have left the CD there at Best Buy and gone home from Ankeny instead, safe and non-stupid.

But if I hadn't gone to get that CD, I wouldn't have heard the first track of that soundtrack.  I wouldn’t have seen the hero and heroine waltzing with breathless enchantment across the lawn of Kingston Park, wouldn't have been compelled to write it and find out why that scene came at me like that, wouldn't have sat here stunned yesterday morning as I watched more and more of the story open up like crystals in a kaleidoscope.   I wouldn't have spent most of yesterday rushing to assemble my wall of notecards as fast as my brain could spit them out, and I wouldn't be writing this blog entry now.

So hooray for stupidity.  Hooray for wasting time, for being rude, for being selfish and for listening to the strange voices in our head.  Here's to crazy instinct.  I'll take it over sensible stability any day of the week.


Post a Comment

<< Home