Stranded, or Withholding Judgment

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Currently, I am temporarily residing in the lovely and fast-growing city of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, home of Middle Tennessee State University, which is the home of the writing program I co-direct, the Writer's Loft.  (Our fall workshops and orientation are next week and there are still a few spots left. You can come on Friday for the low cost of $50, and there will be workshops with Whitney Ferre and Kathy Rhodes. Check out the website for more info.)

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I left Portland on Tuesday, expecting to arrive here that night.  Instead, I arrived on Wednesday night, after an unexpected stranding in Houston.  There was a hurricane, they said.  So they had to cancel flights. The weather looked like a lot of hot, steamy rain to me but what do I know?  I got the last room at the airport Marriott and barely slept all night, worried about my flights the next day, even though the bed was soft and bedbug-free (I checked) and the pillows plump and numerous.

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Next morning, bright and early, I landed on a flight to Newark.  From there, I'd catch my connection to Nashville.  Never mind that it makes absolutely no sense to fly all the way across the country from one coast to the other and then double back again.  But, this turned out to be the best part of my adventure, even though I thought that hanging out in the airport bar with a bunch of stranded travelers would be.  (Can I just say that Mad Men are alive and well in this millennium?  In the time I drank two glasses of wine, the businessmen sitting beside me at the bar downed three mixed drinks and three glasses of wine.  Gee-zus.) Because upon hearing that I was a writer, the friendly flight attendant invited me to join him in the back of the plane.  I sat on the jump seat as he regaled me with ideas for screenplays, jokes, and classic lines of dialogue from movies.  This made up for the fact that there were no blankets and it was freezing (said friendly flight attendant made the pilots turn up the heat) and that an Angry Bald Guy who punched the overhead compartment in his fury was sitting next to me.

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My point to this story? Well, as the title hints, it is that we often shut ourselves down to interesting adventures and experiences because we're so worried and judgmental.  Upon hearing that my flight had been cancelled, my first thoughts were dread and fear.  Where would I stay?  What if there weren't any rooms?  What if I really couldn't make it to Nashville until Thursday, as they initially told me?  How would I cope without my suitcase?  I was already pre-judging my experience before I'd even started to experience it.  So I made a conscious effort to let all that go, and just hang in there and go with the flow.  And it worked out great.  I hung out in the bar, met an interesting fellow writer, saw the Manhattan skyline from the Newark airport, and made it to Nashville in only minorly stinky clothes.  In short, I had an adventure.  And I loved every minute of it.

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And now here I am in Murfreesboro.   And I'm determined to celebrate and enjoy whatever comes my way, good or bad, without pre-judging.  After all, life's an adventure.

What do you pre-judge?  Um, your writing, perhaps?  I do that, too.  But that's a post for another day.

Photo credits: airplane by Richard_B, courtesy of MorgueFile, Marriott Houston from TripAdvisor, screaming man, Brbankston from Everystockphoto, downtown Murfreesboro from Pollinator, via Wikipedia.

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[…] journey involving a four-hour drive and then an endless plane ride (but at least I didn't get stuck overnight in Houston) I made it home at 11 PM Friday night, which was 2 AM in the time zone I left that […]

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