What is just bad planning, you ask? Adventure. The internet tells me Roald Amundsen said that, and I have no reason to doubt the internet about this particular thing. At this point. So.
In two weeks, I will attend the Calvin Festival of Faith and Writing and I am excited, you guys. Gals. People. It feels like Christmas. There’s bouncing anticipation, and preparation, and budgeting for food and travel and thinking about what I’ll do with my hair.
Unlike Christmas, though, the anticipation will eventually give way to anxious hand-wringing, because potential interaction with strangers makes me nervous, and because actual interaction with anybody (no matter how lovely and pleasant) can be an energy drain. In this way, the coming Festival is less like Christmas and more like questing. With mountains and forests and saddlebags.
Now, planning can’t save you from all adventure (a dragon-attack, for example, might be rather unexpected). But it can help a shy and timid creature avoid hiding in the bathroom for three days.
I, a shy and timid creature, am asking myself the following questions, in several different categories, to aid in my planning for this writerly-quest-thing:
Where are you going? How will you get there? What if your car breaks down? Can you steal the Husband’s motorcycle in case the car implodes? Where will you park the Husband’s stolen motorcycle once you reach the site? What are the building names? How is the sidewalk laid out? Where are the bathrooms, the restaurants, the drinking fountains? Which drinking fountain has the tastiest water? Where will you hide if a dragon does attack? From which hill will you choose to do battle with aforesaid dragon?
What will you bring? What will you use to carry what you bring? What statement will that bag/briefcase/backpack/satchel make about you? Do you have a good book in case no one will sit with you during lunch? Do you have several pens you can trust to take notes when you need them to and not explode all over the insides of your pockets? Do you have blank paper? Is your cell phone charged? Do you even know where your phone is? Do you have a way to charge it while you’re out and about? Is your bag reliable? Is it too heavy? What can you leave behind? Should you bring several different books in case you can’t decide which one you want to be seen reading at lunch? Or should you be writing a book instead? Are you strong enough to carry all those different books AND the book you’re writing? Do you need strength-training? Maybe you need strength-training.
You hate clothes, but you have to admit they’re necessary, particularly in ever-changing Michigan weather. So which clothes, exactly? Do you want to wow people with your good looks, or dress in practical, casual style? (In case of dragon attack, those wearing jeans and sneakers might have an advantage over those in skirts and heels, but then, you’ve never been attacked by a dragon so you don’t know.) Are your shoes comfortable? Really comfortable: walk-all-day-in comfortable? Where will you put your hair? Maybe you should remove it entirely, so it won’t get in the way. Do your accessories have secondary uses, such as a scarf which doubles as a slingshot or a set of rings which can be used as brass knuckles? What if it rains? Will you have to hide indoors for the rest of the day, or will you Gene Kelly it up with galoshes and a big umbrella? Are your pockets large enough? Do any of your clothes have pockets? Do you need an extra shirt? A glove to drop in case you wish a handsome fellow to find it and pursue you? Wait – you’re married – stop that. Plan your outfits and lay them out the night before. Or dig them out of whichever laundry basket you stuffed them into. Your call.
You’ve thought about your phone’s batteries, but have you given yourself the same consideration? Where will you eat? What will you eat? Fine dining? Fast food? Oatmeal bars? Do you have a water bottle? Do you have a place to go if you need to escape from people? Your car? Your house? A friend’s house? A local park? The mall? What if the dragon follows you to the mall?
Do you have anyone to attend with? Does anyone even like you? Should you attempt to say hi when you recognize someone, or assume she can’t be bothered with your awkward presence? Should you disguise yourself with a false name and mustache? What will you say if someone tries to talk to you? Will you talk back? Or run away after screaming, “LOOK BEHIND YOU!” Do you need flash cards with talking points? Can you remember what your book is about? Maybe you shouldn’t talk about your book. In fact, don’t let on that you do any kind of writing. You’re not a writer. You’re a talented antiques dealer from Scotland. Is your Scottish accent believable, or will you offend someone terribly and get kicked out? Don’t get kicked out: you might be the only one prepared for a dragon attack.