Recently I came close to having a traumatic experience in New Jersey. I was driving to a book club meeting and everything was going well until I realized my GPS system (“Tom Tom”) was telling me to go over the George Washington Bridge. And the one true thing I have learned in my life is that I never want to go on the George Washington Bridge. So I stood up to Tom Tom and changed direction, but unfortunately, because I was going 65 miles an hour, and panicking about the book club, I couldn’t turn him off. With the result that for half an hour I had to listen to a British voice urging me to, “Turn around now! Turn around now!”
My sentiments exactly. In about nine out of every ten situations, my first impulse is to turn around. Now. Get into bed. Pick up a book. Ignore the phone. However, such a philosophy is not conducive to long term mental health or book sales, and so I invariably get out of bed and proceed.
In this case I was more worried than usual because I wasn’t sure the meeting was taking place. The person who had organized it did not seem to have much access to e mail and her phone was turned off, which was worrisome. And about a week before the book club was scheduled, she sent me an e mail that made me think everything had been called off. So I had a terrible feeling I was going to drive two hours and wind up in front of an abandoned house. (I’ve just been reading a mystery by Ruth Rendell in which something similar happens.)
“Don’t go,” my husband said. “You need to rest.’
He always thinks I need to rest. He’s been telling me that for twenty five years.
In this case, however, I thought he had a point, but I just wasn’t sure, and so I went to www.absolutewrite.com, which is a message board for writers and one of my favorite places to hang out, and I asked for advice and everyone said, Go! And thank God I did, because when I got to the house, I found fifteen absolutely wonderful women sitting in a circle, smiling at me. Fresh apple crumb cake in the kitchen. And pumpkin pie and cookies that were baked from Hillary Clinton’s recipe. And lots of other stuff as well, all of which I ate.
The moral of the story, of course, is that whenever you are invited to New Jersey, you should go. And that it’s good to take risks. And that I shouldn’t listen to my husband. And book clubs rule!
So, who do you ask for advice when you’re not sure what to do?