Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Stranded

My car refused to go, and so I sat, neighbor to barb-wire and a broken-down barn on a rural highway, waiting for rescue.

I was kicking myself for not grabbing that paperback I passed before leaving home. It's a new author, a new voice; it could have been research, a passing of the time.

Kicking myself, wishing I'd taken my laptop - if I'd only known - since I'd had to up and go, mid-zone. I'd left my WIP hanging. We could have been hanging together.

So I sat there, waiting to be claimed. Wishing this and wishing that, but getting none of it.

Have you ever been stranded? For what did you wish?

36 comments:

Janna Qualman said...

Everything was okay, by the way. It was a heck of a story, but I did get help, and the car is now running once again. :)

Naturally, I had to look at the circumstance from a writer's perspective. ;)

Sharon Lippincott said...

Stranded. It's been a long time -- over twenty years. It was dark, late, seriously cold, and long before cell phones. My red lemon of a Chevy was a constant cause of grief. I wished for speedy rescue. Within ten minutes, a highway patrolman appeared and sat parked behind me to ensure my safety until the tow truck came. Then I wished I could sit in his warm car instead of my cold one. Just as I began shivering, the tow truck arrived.

Wishes do come true.

sherrinda said...

It's been a long time since I've been stranded, but a book would be what I would want, for sure! I guess being without any distraction would be conducive to some brainstorming. :)

Stina Rose said...

While in college i was bringing three friends home for the holidays, and we got stranded right in the middle of Chicago. I mean our car died in the center lane of the sky way, and police officers had to bump us off to the side of the road. At the time, all I wanted was my dad to come and make everything work again. He did come, but it took him till three in the morning to get to us. We all slept through Thanksgiving dinner. (Mom saved us some left overs)

Terri Tiffany said...

My family and I were once stranded on the PA turnpike at about midnight after a two week vacation. We'd flown in from CA, picked up our car and noticed the gas getting lower and lower. A leak. I admit--I was scared. This was before celll phones to call for help. But a nice tow truck man towed us 2 hours home!

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

The first stranded memory I have is when I was five years old and my mother left me sitting in a sand box with strange kids and their mother while she went somewhere for awhile. Even though she told me everything would be okay and she did return to get me, I felt stranded, alone and helpless.

This feeling is one that I've had as a writer when, in the middle of a story, I find myself sitting with strangers/characters and wondering if another one or someone will come and get me and take me back to my story.

Lori said...

I don't remember ever being stranded anywhere. I imagine I would be terrified. I'm happy you're safely back home.

Melanie Avila said...

Usually I long for my book when I'm stranded unexpectedly. I'm glad it turned out okay for you, even if you weren't able to write.

Janna Qualman said...

Sharon - That's a great story. Thanks for stopping in and sharing it!

Sherrinda - You're right! I did jot some thoughts on a napkin. ;)

Oh, Stina, what a sad Thanksgiving! Could have been much worse, though, huh?

Terri - That story is full of blessings. Do you ever wonder about the nice man who helped you?

Donna - That is an awesome analogy.

Janna Qualman said...

Lori - There were moments of worry (but then, I'm a worrier), but it all worked out fine. Made me stronger, gave me fodder. :)

Melanie - I've told myself so many times I should always take a book with me.

Kathryn Magendie said...

Like you, for a good book!

Glad your car is fine - I see from your note to the side of this! Nothing more frustrating than being stranded by your car!

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

Vacations are tough for me. I think my characters miss me a lot when I'm gone. I don't yet have a laptop.
~ Wendy

Barbara said...

Glad you made it out okay. My DH and I got stranded far from home witha car fire once. Scary. Had to rent a car to get home!! That was not an experience I'd want to repeat!

Melanie Avila said...

Janna, lately the only times I don't are when Ibis comes along with me (like to a doctor's appt) but sometimes he decides to go for a walk or something and I'm stuck.

Janna Qualman said...

Kat - Especially when timing is really poor. :(

Wendy - Does that make it harder to get back into your writing when you get back? I usually take my laptop, thinking this time, and then don't work on the WIP a lick!

Barbara, sheesh! Fire and cars is never good. Glad you're okay, too.

hoo, I've almost learned my lesson!

Tess said...

Stranded:

literally: yes, 20 years ago/locked out of car/midnight/creepy guy tried to get me into his car/panic/silent and fervent prayer/another helper came at just that moment chased creep off. *shudders at memory*

figuratively: yes, recently *sigh*

Lynnette Labelle said...

That would suck. I'm glad you're okay though.

I always carry a little notepad in my purse, just in case I get inspired. If I was stranded, at least I'd have that. Although, it wouldn't take me long to fill up the book. Then, I'd be onto napkins that are stashed in the glove box. ;)

Lynnette Labelle
http://lynnettelabelle.blogspot.com

Deb Shucka said...

A bathroom.

I always keep a book in my car - a writing book so it doesn't matter if I keep continuity and I can count it as work.

Joanne said...

Not that I was stranded, but I have been places when I could kick myself for not bringing my camera! Always thinking blog, you know! I try to bring a camera with me often in my daily travels.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

I got stranded in Africa a few times and it wasn't fun! I tend to travel with stuff to do, so I think what I really wanted--other than to keep driving-- was a Coke!

JLC said...

Hey! New Color!!

The last time I was stranded, I was at a Gymboree Gym. One of the other kids somehow grabbed my keys (oh toys!) and took it home. When I discovered my missing keys, I called hubby to come and rescue me. My eldest was almost 2 at the time and I was very pregnant so I wasn't in the mood for anything but some rest... and perhaps a foot rub. :)

JLC said...

Glad things turned out ok! Being stranded is an awful feeling!

Analisa said...

I lived in DC with my (then) 3 year old son. A recent snow storm had clogged the streets reducing two lanes to one. We got off the train and went to make our bus to go the rest of the way home. It was dark and cold. Way too many folks were at the bus stop a sure sign something was wrong. Finally a driver came and said the buses on our route could not make it to the station. I had no other way home. I looked at my son bundled up in his snow suit. I asked him if he thought he could walk. (I had servere back problems and could only carry him a few moments at a time). He said yes and hand and hand we made the hike home. Climbing over snow drifts, sometimes walking in the street. It was a daunting task. One mile in deep snow somehow feels like five. We made it to our local grocery store where we got a ride the rest of the way home from one of the "drivers".

I wished what I always wish when we got stuck in bad weather, for a car.

Strange Fiction said...

Last time my car broke down was at night and I was only a couple of kilometers from home. I was wishing for some courage to walk home but I had recently had a huge bear in my yard so I sat tight and waited for help. I keep a book of short stories in my glove box.

Janna Qualman said...

Tess - *gulp* I'm glad your experience wasn't any worse.

Lynnette - I have good intentions with notebooks. But then my daughters need to draw a picture or write a list, and it never makes it back to my purse. :)

Deb - Come to think of it, I needed one that day, too!

Joanne - I can totally see that about you. :)

Kristen - Mmm, for me, a Dr Pepper!

JLC, that sounds miserable. Did you know the mom well enough to track her down, then?

Analisa - That's quite a story. You and your son did well!

Strange Fiction - Oh my, I don't blame you!

JLC said...

Janna - Unfortunately I didn't know the mom. I had to wait for a couple of days before she brought the keys back to Gymboree. I couldn't believe she would wait that long to give someone their keys back!!

Lazy Writer said...

Yes. I ran out of gas once and it took my husband an hour to come get me. Of course I was out in the middle of nowhere. I actually ended up enjoying the quiet time to think, though. Glad everything turned out okay for you.

Jody Hedlund said...

I was stranded in the airport last weekend during a couple of long periods while waiting for flights. Thankfully I had my laptop and I could get a little work done. But I learned that writing on the airplane is very hard! Too many people looking over my shoulder at what I'm doing. From now on, I'll use airplane rides for reading!

Jessica said...

Hmmm, not really stranded, but anytime I'm delayed I always wish I had a book. I usually take one with me everywhere I go.
Poor Jody! I didn't even try to write on the plane. We were packed in.
I'm sorry you got stranded but glad that you're safe now. :-)

thedomesticfringe said...

Oh, man, sorry about your car. You know I was 'stuck' waiting somewhere the other night and I felt so fortunate that I had stopped at the library on my way to pick the kids up from school that afternoon. I still had the book sitting in my purse. Helped to pass the time in a good way!

Glad your car is back up and running.
-FringeGirl

Amy said...

I was "stranded" once on an airplane--50 feet from the gate! They wouldn't let our plane pull in b/c the airport was short on ground crews and there was no one available to guide the plane up to the jetway. We sat there for an hour. So close, yet so far.

Janna Qualman said...

JLC - Unbelievable!

Lazy Writer - I understand! Sometimes those unexpected moments are best for such things.

Jody - Interesting! I never suspected that would be an issue, but it makes sense. You can just call the reading research. ;)

Jessica - So I really DO need to keep a book on my "person" at all times.

FG - Excellent!

Amy - THAT had to be frustrating.

Angie Muresan said...

I'm glad you're fine and weren't stranded for too long. I haven't been stranded recently, but I keep my car prepared just in case, as it is older and not often as reliable as I'd like it to be. I have a duffel bag in the back with a change of clothes for myself, hubby, and the kids, as well as bags of beef jerkey, candy bars, and bottled water, and a couple books that are on my list to read someday.

Karen said...

In college driving 2 hours from home in my bright yellow Duster with a cool black top and footprint decals on the back. (Yes, I know I'm dating myself) Anyway, it was kinda scary. I wished someone was with me for support.

Janna Qualman said...

Angie - We should all take notes from you; you are very well prepared!

Karen - I can almost see that Duster now! ;)

Nadine said...

Every time I've been stranded, I've always wished I had brought a book with me. Nothing like a good book to take you out of reality while the time passes.