Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Uncertainty

So if you go chasing rabbits...
First, I need to apologize to the lot of you for how absent I've been as a blog visitor. I usually try to sneak in several while I'm at work and we are under a grant deadline, for starters, but I ALSo got sucked down the Pottermore Rabbithole yesterday—it's VERY fun. Man, I love those books, and this is a great interactive way to relive some of that. There are a lot of notes as to Jo's writing process, which is SUPER cool, and then the finding little treasures really brings out my inner geek.

BUT, the work deadline still has about 9 days on it, so I can't promise things will get better before then... I will try harder, but it is what it is...

Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit video


Uncertainty

I have a young friend who went to a psychic yesterday... Now some of you may have your opinions on the matter, but she was told a great many things and I find she now seems significantly more relaxed. You see, she is in a state of flux... looking for a job... not permanently attached romantically... not sure even, where she wants to LIVE in the long run. Anything goes... and she was stressing. WIRED might even have not been an off description... this psychic gave her clues to a timeframe, some sort of big details... some idea of the spiritual support she has helping her... and it helped.


And it took me back to the last time I was unemployed... erm... I was 22 and fresh out of college... I've actually had TWO jobs more often in my adult life than no job, and that's even if I count maternity leave as not working... you heard me. Half my life, and not ONE FREAKING BREAK.

I should sound more grateful. I know that. There are people who depend on me and it would be a whole lot worse if I didn't have the means to take care of them, but this got me thinking back to that 22 year-old me.

WHAT THE HECK WAS I THINKING, diving so fast into the work force. I could have taken time to travel. I could have screwed around a little... I could have moved somewhere with fewer ties (not that Portland wasn't its own kind of adventure, but I DID know some people).


But I know exactly what I was thinking.

I have never been able to tolerate uncertainty. I've taken jobs I like just a little less because it was a sure thing, rather than wait to hear on something I wanted more. I've made decisions with a safety net... a back-up plan.

Heck, even with my writing, it is just a side job, until such time as I blow them away, eh?

Would the word of a psychic have calmed me enough to sort of just let things happen back then? (WOULD they have happened, if I hadn't been such a diligent, hard worker MAKING them happen?) The job I got, they practically BEGGED me to take because the woman hiring me had formerly worked for the advertising agency where I did my internship—would I have even gotten a letter and resume to that agency to APPLY if I hadn't have worked like that? Heck, it was a branch of an LA agency—possibly not. Maybe it HAD to go the way it went... And had it not, I never would have met HWMNBMOTI or my fabulous friend Natalie (you know a friend is fabulous when you name your first born after them).... Then again, who knows what I might have done instead?


Then There is the Other One

Compared to HWMNBMOTI, I am a verifiable THRILL seeker—jumping at every opportunity, diving into sweet oblivion as I take risk after risk... You see... I don't think my dislike of uncertainty means I don't like new things. Heck, I like to shake it up now and then. I just never let go of one thing, until the next is firmly in my grasp. (is that the insecure cancer in me?)

He, on the other hand, thinks of everything that can go wrong and won't actually leap—he has to be shoved off the edge. (or dragged, as the case may be—something I've done to him more than once)

But man, I DO like to know where I'm going next. I like to have.... wait for it... a PLAN! BUWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Doesn't need a bunch of detail, but I can't just dive without the basics.


This is called managing uncertainty--I'm not sure if they got that.
Sort of how I write, come to think of it... (not with an outline, but a timeline--I don't know the details, but I DO know the destination)


Now I am not a person who puts a ton of stock in all this.. I've had my tarot read, and found it fun... I dabble in astrology (and know I will achieve fame near the end of life or after death, so I have that going for me)... but it is all more amusement and hobby than guidance... I'm not sure if I could alter my perceptions of uncertainty ANYWAY... I think I may just be too stubborn.

So what about you? How are you at dealing with uncertainty? Do you ever look at any of this future telling? Do your characters? (Oooh! And do they fight it if they learn something?!--I love resistance of a prophecy—never works, but makes a great story)

19 comments:

Christine Murray said...

I don't like uncertainty either. I have to have a plan. But the way I write is completely different, I start with a couple of details and learn the rest as I go along. Writing is pretty the only activity where I'm reckless.

Old Kitty said...

I do not like uncertainties! They are not NAKED at all!! They should be banned! And yes I do see a psychic once a year on my birthday! Off I go to hide and find some clothes! LOL! Take care
x

Matthew MacNish said...

I've got no problem with uncertainty as it pertains to only me, and in fact I went through a lot of it when I was young, but now that I'm a father, you have to have a certain amount of predictability when it comes to caring for other human beings. Like, oh, for example, the bills must be paid and there needs to be food available for the creatures to eat.

Journaling Woman said...

Certainty is my friend. :)Sameo is my bedfellow. However, certainty and sameo all the time can be very boring.

I write both ways with a plan and without. It depends on the project.

salarsenッ said...

I'm not the successful at dealing with uncertainty, either. I do try and remind myself that it's in those valleys that we grow the most. We might not notice it, but pruning is painful right? *I'm nodding* :)

Sometimes we need to sit back and look at where we've been and that tells us where we're headed. Great post!

Johanna Garth said...

Seems like no one likes uncertainty...which certainly makes sense. My personal belief is our discomfort with uncertainty (which I share) is tied up in our fear of death which is all part of the human condition which makes for great writing. See the theme!! Now, if only I had time to write about it :)

Cruella Collett said...

I had no idea I went to a psychic yesterday... Oh, wait, this wasn't me you were talking about? It sounded like me... And I agree - the uncertainty SUCKS. If my life doesn't start to resume some sort of predictable routine soonish, I'm bound to go mad. (So, yeah, I'd have jumped in at that job at 22 too. Then again, I probably would have gone for a job with opportunities of travelling, if I had the chance)

Terry Odell said...

My mother went to a psychic once. She insisted we change our fight reservations because the psychic saw "trouble flying at night" and we were on a flight that would have arrived late. We did find a better flight schedule for an earlier flight, so we booked that one instead. (We were traveling with our 9-month-old son.) Only that early flight was the one with the problems, and we ended up arriving well after the original flight had landed (without any mishaps).

So, I guess the psychic DID see something, but didn't know how to translate her vision.

Terry
Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

SP Sipal said...

I'm actually good at dealing with uncertainty. I stay really calm and have faith that everything will work out in the end. Plus, I'm the type where I don't mind a bit of discomfort in my life if it means waiting for the right thing to come along. However, the people closest to me are NOT like this, and therein lies the problem!

Thanks for a lot of great insight, Hart!

Jan Morrison said...

My practice, as a Buddhist, is to rest in the uncertainty. It is what we have even when we don't think so. It is a tough practice and I'm glad to get absolute concrete reminders of the shiftiness of the ground beneath my feet.
I read the tarot and go to the occasional channeler, but I don't think about it too much, any more. I guess I believe that the only possible sensible reason to look at the future would be if we had some chance to change it. And we do. so?

Hart Johnson said...

Christine-okay, so not a perfect correlation with writing style, then...

Jenny-yes, NO PANTSING! Down with pants! We need a PLAN!

Matt-it's true that I like it a lot less when I have responsibilities--I think that's why i have some regrets about not winging it a little when i was responsibility FREE.

Teresa-interesting you can work both ways! And I would agree that if things are TOO predictable, I can get bored, too.

SA-definitely helps to keep that in mind... growth is good. I think it is hard to remember in the midst of it, but after, at least we can apply it.

Johanna-oh, interesting take! I guess I don't fear death except as it applies to needing to care for people, but that is where I hate uncertainty most, too.

Mari-funny that I have several young friends in limbo, but i do... wonder if a psychic would help you relax.

Terry-Oh, no! Sounds like you met with Trelawney--I always figured she SAW but was lousy at interpretting, too.

Hart Johnson said...

Susan-oh, interesting! I CAN be adaptable... I'm good at making lemonade of lemons, but I don't LIKE it. Though, yes, being anchored to a curmudgeon makes it that much harder.

Jan-that resting in it is a great. I think that's a really good thing to aspire to.

Angela Felsted said...

I'm a lot like you in that I have more of a timeline than a detailed an outline when I write. Also like you in that I had to get through college as fast as possible. Now I look back and wish I'd taken a year to travel.

GigglesandGuns said...

Writing brings out my wild side. My characters can be anything, anyone. And yet, there are those who are, shall we say, practical.

Writing is fun!

Michael Offutt said...

I love M.C. Escher. So good of you to pick one of his drawings. And I have some psychic friends. I honestly don't think that they have any special powers at all although I'd never say that to their face. However, one thing I have gotten from psychics in general is that they are all tremendous listeners and while you are with them, they devote practically all of their time to you. I think therein lies the secret to the magic...just listening extremely well and taking interest in one person for the entire time that you are with them.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I don't like uncertainty. I like routine and stability. I'm a creature of habit.
Then again, where my writing will go from here, if it goes anywhere... of that I am uncertain.

Alison said...

I used to insist on having a detailed outline, complete with words that I planned to use in each section.

Yeah, I don't do that any more.

In fact, when I wrote my last book, I made the decision to wing it. And what a joy it was to create! The scenes played themselves out in my mind, and the characters did things that surprised me, and yet made perfect sense.

PS - I'm sorry for being MIA from the blogs too, lately. I'm digging out of a ton of work, like Uma's character The Bride in Kill Bill II.

Cold As Heaven said...

That's an interesting question to ask; what would have happened it I didn't make THAT decision, at various branching points in life? My strategy has always been to volunteer to work with new stuff that comes up (technology, research). So far I've happened to make some lucky choices, but what happens next time?

Hope your young friend is doing well.

And I like those Escher painting >:)

Cold As Heaven

Heather Savage said...

Funny, we have lived parallel lives. I work in advertising. Being open to risk, I decided to go part time after our daughter was born while my husband stepped up his game and has done quite well as a result. The writing was a part time thing and now has grown into a publishing business and freelance editing.

I hope your friend felt better after the psychic. Sometimes feeling there is a purpose or destiny takes the pressure off and oddly enough, self-fulfilling prophecy clicking on, things happen. My Great Gran was a psychic (worked with the police and foretold her grandson's violent end). She was the real deal. Unfortunately, there are a lot of charlatans out there. If you friend got a good one, good for her for being open. Luck to her and of course to you.
Loving your posts! They make me smile.
--HK Savage