This is a travel tale, and a writing tale, and a tale of patience required.
Yesterday morning I left my house in Vancouver, Canada to travel to Silverdale, Washington for an event at the Kitsap Mall. It's called Girl's Night Out and once a year the mall stays open late on a Friday night, invites women from everywhere to join them and be entertained. Thousands (and I'm not kidding when I say thousands) of women arrive at the mall. They pick up a shopping bag with a bottle of water, a book of coupons and some gifts and then begin the trek through the mall filled with... well, filled with everything a woman could ever want. There are raffles and free massages, food tasting, samples of makeup and skin care, discounts in every store, entertainment - music and dancing and comedians.
But to get back to the tale - the first part of the journey was easy, Vancouver to the U.S. border. Then things began to unravel. I sat in the border line-up for an hour and a half - a much longer wait than usual that early on a Friday morning, then another half an hour at the post office. Skipped lunch, except for a piece of excellent apple crumble pie (leaving me, of course, with a sugar buzz and then crash), then back on the road to Coupeville to catch the ferry across to Port Townsend, leaving myself, I think, plenty of time for this part of the journey. It's only 89.14 miles (according to MapQuest) - so how long can it take? Not that long, except that they're doing roadwork everywhere so it's a bit slow. The ferry leaves at 3:15, 15 minutes late, and even though I arrive at 2:30, I miss the ferry by three rows of cars. The next ferry isn't until (hopefully) 4:30, but in fact it's 5:15 before it leaves. Now, I'm supposed to be at Port Townsend at 3:30, leaving me time to get changed and on the road for the next hour of the trip and at the mall in plenty of time for the start of the event. Not.
By the time I get to Kitsap Mall, it's almost 6:30 and my fellow writers are waiting for me. I still, however, haven't eaten except for a muffin (more sugar which I SO don't need) and some beef jerky. Typical (I think) writer's food in these circumstances.
Two other writers - Alexa Darin and Suzanne Macpherson - were waiting for me. I didn't know either of them very well before last night but the three of us bonded. We're all exactly the same age, we've all (weird coincidence of all time) written books with Elvis impersonators in them. So we're going to do some things together - contests and a blog and some signings. The long drive down was worth it just to meet the two of them.
The three of us were the entertainment at the Waldenbooks in the mall. It was great fun and probably worth the nine hours down - I sold all the books the store had and the three of us laughed and enjoyed the parade.
That's the travel, writing and patience part of the tale.
And here's the lesson.
You never know what's going to happen in your day or who you're going to meet or how long it's going to take to get to where you need to be. Be patient. Have fun. Don't panic. I may have been behind schedule all day, but I saw some beautiful scenery, got to know two wonderful women, sold a bunch of books, and had some lessons reinforced for me.
And you know what? It turned out, despite the downside, to be a day full of upsides for me.