It had been a long week of doing everyone else’s work but my own. I hadn’t done much writing but had managed to keep up on my reading and the marketing of my first novel. In the back of my mind I strategized how to kick start my stalled second novel and briefly contemplated my next two online writing assignments.
It was an unexpected flat tire that taught me two important lessons and directed the day’s path to a situation that would give rise to my writing slump.
Over the last two years I have encountered several flat tires. It had been five to be exact, on three different cars. It wasn’t till the recent incident that I realized what the flats meant. While a huge inconvenience, the flats always seem to be discovered in safe locations and during a time when my life was moving in the fast lane, both literally and figuratively. The flat tires required me to slow down and take stock of my surroundings and my path.
This time, I had to stop putting off things that required my attention and maintenance—things like replacing my two bald rear tires, getting my cracked filling fixed and taking my car through inspection.
Well, Friday night found me at the Sears Auto center at my local mall. As I walked the mall’s corridors in anticipation of finding a bookstore to spend my time in wait for my car, I found many stores I had never seen before, but could not find the bookstore. I strolled along the entire top floor with no success, then I descended to the ground level only to come upon the vacant shell that use to B. Dalton Bookseller. My heart sank and I immediately went in search of the mall directory hoping there was another book establishment within the mall that I had yet to come across. Alas, there was none.
As a newly published author, the last thing you want to see is a mall with no bookstores. This finding or lack of one ignited the desire that had been smoldering inside me for some time.
The next day with two new tires and a positive car inspection report, I rewarded myself with a trip to a used bookstore. Before I knew it, I had spent three hours and $150 in the store.
What’s most interesting isn’t the amount of money I spent or the time it took to spend it. Most interesting was the selection of the books themselves. I picked up 19 books in all. The subjects included suspense, feminist critique, black feminist critique, African American history, erotica, writing reference, and women’s studies. The specific variety of my bounty was no mistake. I was transported to my college years where the only thing more important than studying literature or women’s studies was studying African American history. I recently finished an article on bell hooks (spelled with lower case letters in respect to the scholar’s preference). The research for that article bridged the gap between my interest in women’s studies and my interest in African American history. Being a black woman, the merging of these two subjects should have been obvious, but it wasn’t.
These occurrences resurrected my interest in African American studies and feminism, a platform that will give my literary voice the purpose I was seeking.
Who knew a flat tire could inflate my literary destiny.