Posts Tagged ‘Murphy’s Law’

What can go wrong will go wrong. (Murphy’s Law)

My computer is unplugged. Temporarily. A few minutes. No more. Its battery is at 69%. I checked two seconds ago. Then, the screen goes as dead as the inside of a serial killer’s conscience. The blackout has just destroyed 83 pages of edits.

On my final manuscript.

Scheduled to go to my publisher.


Yes, I do know how to write complete sentences. However, under the circumstances, my mind isn’t thinking in complete thoughts, especially as I realize the do-you-want-to-recover document I was editing contains an uncorrected way-too-common phrase I changed on page one.

And, no, I did not wait hours before hitting save. The save button would have a hole in if it were made of any earth material—including diamond.

Glitch two—some missed connection with my new Microsoft Word. No-o-o, a two-letter word that now has at least ten syllables.

Time to breathe before starting over. Two friends help make that happen, Ann and Shannon. They are coming for lunch and a personal concert. Fortunately, lunch has been prepared ahead. Simple. Homemade soup and tossed salad. Bagged tortilla chips. These two women appreciate. Excess is unnecessary.

Ann is blind. I pick her up from home and lead her up the steps leading to our house. She has no difficulty finding her way. Her sunshine greeting, light coming from her spirit, encourages me.

I realize there is no way I could have started over on my manuscript in a milieu of internal darkness. Shannon is already at the house and she is talking to Jay. Her laughter greets us as we enter the house.

We begin our afternoon with music. Neither of my friends could come to the Get Lit Festival last Saturday sponsored by Post Mortem Press. (Lit refers to Literature, not buzzed.) Local artists and writers brought their art to sell. I read a short section from my next middle-grade urban fantasy. I also played and sang three songs.

Nathan Singer from the Whiskey Shambles, rocked the program. He has an established following.

However, Ann and Shannon cheer as I play two songs on my guitar—just for them. Jay claps as well, even though he has heard my music so often, I close the door so he can concentrate on something else, anything else. A song may be incredible, but any sound repeated 7, 468 times requires ear canals as calloused as my fingertips. It’s called survival.

My heart lightens by the time I get back to start-over mode. And that is valuable because one beat after I get to the last page, Murphy’s Law shows up again. The computer freezes. Donkey-stubborn, won’t-get-out-of-bed, it refuses to budge.

My unprintable response remains in my husband’s and my memory since the computer is comatose now. It couldn’t hear if it were a living being anyway. Moreover, I reserve questionable language for the computer. I reboot the gosh-darned thing and pray my story has lived.

Trembling, I consider one of the last changes I made. Perhaps one of the angels my friends left in the house is present because I remember two edits. They are both intact.

Bye-bye, manuscript. Have a good time being formatted into a fantasy kids can enjoy where the good guys win. And hello, real life. No, I did not use the hammer or axe on my computer. The old thing will, however, be replaced. My birthday present from Jay.

After all, the innate beauty in life returns. Eventually. Murphy’s Law never destroys goodness completely.

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If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it. (Erma Bombeck)

When I get out of bed my back and knees don’t want to work together. I knock a glass of water onto the floor while reaching for cereal. I sigh and decide to own my day, the pleasant and the unpleasant. It’s going to be good. Just take one thing at a time, Ter.

Then when I return to the kitchen to grab my water bottle before exercise class I see that Jay is already filling it. The spill has dried; I’m ready for hours two, three, four and five of the day. As they arrive.

I’ve heard a lot of family rejection stories lately. They have been shared in confidence. And can’t be relayed in a public forum.  I listen and recognize the hurt, but feel uncomfortable when retaliation comes up during the conversation. War doesn’t help. I’m right; here’s a list proving why you are wrongI hope it scalds you. All the hearer recognizes is tone—original notion verified. Solutions rarely come quickly, or easily.

Then, there are friends who experience constant avalanche-style losses. I have several that I think about daily, sometimes more often, in the middle of the night.

Others suffer severe inconvenience. At a recent gathering of friends one woman told a story where so much went wrong, her journey became comedy. Her road trip, designed by human angels, included black ants, a flat tire, and one example of Murphy’s Law followed by another.

Therefore, when my husband found a blue crayon in the dryer—after it had ruined almost everything in a load of wash—I’d already had the lesson on perspective. Although my husband had not heard the same stories, he did not overreact either.  He has friends who suffer as well, and has come to understand perspective through their experience.

Unfortunately, one of the ruined items did not belong to me. I need to replace it.

One dryer has been scrubbed and one ego has been swallowed. “Uh, sorry.” And, yes, I am making good on the cloth that belongs to my church community. Actually, my granddaughter is sewing some new ones. And I will make sure she is rewarded.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons why I don’t go into long tirades on the righteousness of anything. In the next moment I could find another blue crayon in the final stage, the dry-and-set, of my so-called-perfect argument.

One more time from the top…check all pockets before hitting start. In any arena.

blue crayon stains

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The art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings. (Kakuzo Okakaura) 

Today could be declared Murphy’s Law day because what didn’t go wrong at least turned sideways. The details would take up too much space to list. Almost anyone living in the real world can give personal examples with little thought.

Readjustments take more flexibility than my agenda allows.

I finally get a chance to write—for what I think will be an hour—when I’m needed somewhere else. No question about it.

“I really hate to bother you,” my needy friend says.

My answer comes with a sigh, but not much thought. “I left a funeral no more than seven hours ago. Two women I know lost husbands this week. What am I giving up?” The answer is rhetorical because I don’t want to admit how much I cherish my precious, guarded quiet time. I think I can get through this.

And I do. My creative inspiration before the interruption lay somewhere between pause and stutter anyway. Most of my work this evening returned into the backspace key. I have already forgotten the erased words, and it is probably better that way. Like every writer, my work doesn’t fall onto the page the way the credits appear after a movie—in quick, neat-flowing lines.

Toys lay scattered on the floor of the room where I type. Another chore on the endless list. And then, I notice a block of Legos and remember my middle granddaughter’s building project. At first she wanted to make a building, with symmetrical sections and colors that match. Windows, or at least open spaces. Decorative pieces in fun places. A roof, all one color. But we didn’t have enough orange pieces to cover the top—not without a wrecking crew and a plan to make something smaller.

Eventually my granddaughter did start over. She designed a cake. She accepted the fact that our building supplies are scarce, and created an imperfectly colored celebration. A happy birthday for her sister turning twelve next week and a blessing for me today.

I can’t expect more from each day than what is. But often, each moment is enough—more than enough.

Miss Rebe’s art

Lego cake

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