Thursday, January 28, 2010

At Least You Don't Have Burrito On YOUR Face

Let me set the stage for you. Wintertime in New England. A gravel walkway, preventing us from ever completely clearing the snow. An abnormally fluctuating temperature, beginning a cycle of melting and freezing of that walkway snow. Then, a freakishly warm night and morning, complete with a rain storm. Now the walkway is covered by an inch of snow, two inches of ice, and an inch of water. Perhaps the slickest surface on all of Mother Earth.

But. We're not ready to brave that front walkway yet. Just know, it's out there, waiting. No, first we have to make ourselves very late for our walk to school. We have forgotten a museum field trip for Superman, and now, upon remembering, have to repack his lunch in only disposable containers. Then, we fix him his second breakfast. You see, Superman lost weight in the fall from a bout of swine flu (yes, really!), and so now we feed him all sorts of fatty foods at every turn. This morning, a burrito. Which he eats from the end of a fork. Meat on a stick. For breakfast. Yum.

Now, time to race out onto the front walkway. Does this sound like a good idea? Racing out onto the slickest surface on the face of the earth? Well, hindsight is twenty-twenty. But in the brain of a mom, trying to get her kids out to school (and a field trip) on time, the 'hurry' synaptic connection is the only one firing.

So, we race out, supporting Superman by the back of his jacket, and we slide across that skating rink. Superman loses his balance. His feet fly out. His hands jerk back. His feet slide back to support him. He doesn't fall (he's Superman, after all). But the burrito flies from the fork. Splits in mid air. And lands squarely on my head.

Erica talked about this a few weeks ago at her blog. No--not burritos in the face. But the Perfect Storm. The perfect intersection of circumstance, personality, and past that makes your novel ripe to happen.

The set-up for me to be standing in my front yard, burrito meat dripping down my face, and watching my neighbors walk past, trotting their kids off to school, was indeed, a perfect storm.

Things that conspired against me that morning:
The physical landscape.
The weather--repeatedly.
My son's earlier illness.
My switch to writing in the morning, which made us a few minutes behind our normal schedule.
My son's field trip plans that day, which which made us even later.
My son's sensory quirks, which makes him someone who wants to eat his burrito on a fork.
My mommy personality which makes me want to protect my son from falling on the ice.

What conspires against your characters, until they have burrito on their faces?


  1. Oh, my. Sorry. Well told. And beautifully related back to writing (as everything should and will). So maybe the beginning of a new day depends on your perspective? Hope it is still so far so good.

  2. Since you know me, you know that I laughed. I laughed at you. Then, I felt bad for you. Then, I laughed more.

    Remember, some things are always in your favor - us.

  3. Tina--So far so good. And I have so great reading to keep it going great. ;-)

  4. Jon--My son and I stood out there, in the driving rain LAUGHING at the meat chunking off my face. So, laughing is the absolute appropriate response.

  5. Tina--My response to you was missing some words or letters. What I was trying to say is that I have some great reading to keep my day positive. I'm having fun with your ms.

  6. This is hilarious! Okay, maybe not that you were late and whatnot, but the events that led up to it. And I think in my book, everything conspires against my characters. Mostly suppressed emotions, and then when they out.

  7. LOL! Family and work - need I say more? :-)

  8. I'm too tired from revising the end of my story to think of a good answer to what is conspiring against my characters. But, I totally understand about the 2 inches of ice. I'd rather have 10 degree weather all winter than go above 32 and get slush that freezes - or the possibility of an ice storm. (shudder)

    I'm glad no one got hurt. :) except for pride.

    But don't you love when life's happenings supply a blog post! Funny.

  9. I'm so glad you could laugh about it (and that no one got hurt)!
    That frozen icy snow is so slick! I about bought it yesterday in the school parking lot.

  10. Elana-- Oh, suppressed emotions are like their very own perfect storm.

  11. Laura--This incident was just to perfect not to write about! And, did you just say that you got to the End of your revisions?

  12. Kelly--It was pretty amazing that no one fell.

    I went to college in Maine, and one of my friends wrote a song about a professor who slipped on the ice... "I saw Patrice Franco take a digger outside of Lovejoy...I saw Patrice Franco take a digger outside my room..."

    It's funny the useless stuff that sticks with me...

  13. I'm going to ignore all of the awesome stuff you have here and just tell you I LOVE BURRITOS! My mom makes the best ones in the whole freaking world and sometimes I crave them so badly everyone in my family has to drop what they're doing and drive an hour with me to mom's house so we can eat her burritos. Long live my mom (and her burritos)!!!

  14. Anita--now I'm hungry. Let's see. So far, I'm going to Tina's for dinner (something with sauteed onions) Avatar with Jon, and then, maybe we could head to your mom's for a midnight snack of burritos. My virtual life ROCKS!

  15. You told this so perfectly I can picture it exactly. Loved the line about the "hurry" synaptic connection being the only one firing. A bad day for you, but at least you got a laugh.

  16. Lori--Thanks. The situation pretty much wrote itself! A laugh and a blog post--not a bad moment, after all.

  17. You better have the burritos goes to bed early!