I'm almost halfway done with my novel, whose working title is How to Fly with Rocks in Your Pocket. I've hit a rut the last few days, as I try to write through a particularly vulnerable series of events for my main character. I've been wandering around London, taking time to write in a hipster coffee shop, to walk around new neighborhoods, to go to the Tate Modern, and to visit a spectacular park built in the ruins of a bombed-out church, all in the hopes of jolting something loose, of writing something that doesn't look exactly like what I've written five times before.
My navigational skills in London are fairly limited. The tube I have no problem with, and thanks to the Transport for London website and app, I pretty much understand the buses. My difficulties happen largely when I have to walk from one of these things to another location. I use google maps on my phone, which has a walking option that is sort of helpful if you basically already know where you're going. In addition to the fact that London has all these weird little "streets" that are completely non-linear and some of which are too small for cars to actually go down, street signs are inconsistent and hard to see because they are on the sides of buildings. You'll understand, then, why phrases such as "head toward Fenchurch Street" are not particularly helpful when I have no idea what direction said street is in, and might have to walk by it in multiple directions before actually seeing the street sign. I would say over the past four days, I've spent at least two hours collectively walking in the wrong direction.
Ordinarily, this is the point in the blog where I'd have an inspirational paragraph about how I noticed cool things when I was taken off the intended path, and this is probably what I need to remember for my writing too. I think that's true. I also think that that would be predictable and boring as fuck. For one of my AP English classes in high school, we had to read a book called How to Read Literature like a College Professor. It totally delivered on what it advertised, and also ruined the experience of reading for pleasure for me for several years. Stories are not as fun if you're taking inventories at the end of each sentence of the literary tools the author has used. Oh, that character's a Christ figure. Wow, they really fucked up the grammar there. Not thoughts you want or need to have while reading Harry Potter.
So, I could read into my whole lack of direction thing as something symbolic, and make analogies and conclude that it is ok to get a little lost sometimes. The reality is, though, that I just need to stop thinking for a bit. It is in my nature to want to explain everything, to understand all of the whys. I can't. While this truth is something that, like Google maps, will cause me to curse under my breath to myself, and lines like "you'll find love when you stop looking for it," make me want to gouge my eyes out, I'm just going to have to stop bitching about it. What would I do without netflix?