Wednesday, May 4, 2011

When Getting It Wrong Is Getting It Right

In South Australia, we have this thing called History Week every year where different organisations put on exhibits / plays / scenic walks, etc. around the state. This year, we're doing a History Month so we have all the more stuff to do spread out across an entire month. On Sunday, the first day, I had a few things planned to do. I was going to go on the Semaphore Historical Walk, see the Port Misery re-enactment landings in Port Adelaide, and finally nip on down to the St. John's Ambulance exhibit.

So my fiance and I wake up with 35 minutes to spare and get at the bus stop a minute too late (I got to see the bus leave without me). We get into the city and it's all rainy but we sit under the stop and wait for the next bus feeling sad that we won't make it to Semaphore in time for the walk. We get a phone call saying that it's cancelled because of the weather.

We head on down to Port Adelaide for the Port Misery landings (finally) after a toilet break led us to miss yet another bus (we got to see that bus leaving too). We're walking down the street, figuring that somehow we'll find Fisherman's Wharf where the re-enactments are meant to be. I mean, it'd be somewhere along the Port River, easy, right? Being a bit unsure about how easy it'd be, we drop by the Port Adelaide Information Center (which is pretty cool, actually) and ask the lady behind the counter where the Port Misery landings are and whether they'd still be on despite the weather.

We get directed into a nearby covered courtyard ... where the May Day rally is taking place. We watch and listen to the speeches (very rousing) and watch them put flowers by the memorial in the rain and then decide to just follow Commercial Road and see what we find.

I'm not sure if we found Fisherman's Wharf but we did find a huge warehouse full of stalls selling 2nd hand and cut-price goods. We met up with friends and spent about 4 hours spending $200 there on all kinds of things from books to clothes (I tease my fiance about looking very Chav in his new hoody) to antique pennies. By the time we leave, I look at my watch and ... oh dear, there's no way we'll get to the St. John's exhibit before closing.

So instead we go home with our friends and watch Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Even though we never got to see any of what we meant to see, even though we missed our bus, even though things were cancelled, we perservered, stayed optimistic, made a point of leaving our house, went where the wind took us and had a wonderful time doing it!

While this is a wonderful philosophy for life in general, it also works with our novels. Sometimes when everything goes wrong, our characters die when they shouldn't, fall in love with those that weren't meant to be, skip into conflicts we never planned, and otherwise behave in messy and naturally interesting ways, if you persevere with a smile and take a look at where the winds are pushing you, you might get to an even better place in the end.

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