The saying is, when the world gives you lemons, make lemonade.
I haven’t always believed that way, but in the past decade or so, that’s been my approach to life. And so far, it’s been pretty helpful. I’ll give you a somewhat shocking, yet true to life, example. In 1993 my father was diagnosed with lung cancer. I went with him and my mother to the oncologist, who told him in no uncertain terms that he was going to die. And he did die, three months later. The news was hard on all of us. It was devastating to me, so much so that I had to see a counselor. My father wasn’t the talking type, and there was a lot left unsaid between us. I tried to talk to him, and ended up writing him letters, which I knew he would never respond to, which he didn’t.
So what’s the upside of all of this? In the process of grieving, I started writing short stories about my relationship with my Dad, or inspired by same. And suddenly I started gettting published. Out of a horrible personal experience I learned that life wasn’t over, at least for me. That has been a turning point in my life, and probably where I started truly believing in the Lemonade saying.
OK, so let’s apply that today and see if it still works. Yesterday I finished lunch and was driving back to my office. I looked up through my windshield just in time to see a vulture fly over the top of my pickup. As I watched, he opened his mouth and vomited on my windshield. Not just a little bit. Gobs and handfuls of stinking animal innards. I gasped, but as I was late to getting back to my office, I kept going. I got a paper towel when I got there and tried to clean it up, but wasn’t real successful. After work, I went to a car wash and paid full price for a very thorough washing.
So where’s the upside? I got something to tell on my Facebook status, I got a blog out of it, and I suspect that somewhere in coming months and years I will turn it into part of a story. That’s the cool thing about being a writer. Everything that happens to you is fodder for another story.
That doesn’t mean I am pleased about a vulture vomiting on my truck, mind you.