Monday, March 7, 2011

A Burst Appendix, a Time Traveler, and a Traffic Jam


www.timetravel-britain.com


Let me begin by saying that this post is not about a time traveler whose appendix burst while sitting in a traffic jam.  But since you probably did not land on this page because you googled “time traveler whose appendix burst while sitting in a traffic jam,” I trust that you won’t be too disappointed to find out that this is actually a post about lines – crooked ones, to be specific.

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, that is, if you know where the end point happens to be. Locations are easy enough to find on a map; in life, not so much. You might be lucky enough to have an idea of the general direction you want to go – you may even have a plan and packed snacks – but you can’t truly know for sure where you will end up. In this post, I’m sharing the crooked line that led me to writing Before Ever After.

Life throws curve balls that can knock out the best GPS. It threw one at my brother and hit his appendix, which is quite remarkable considering that we later discovered that his appendix was actually on the wrong side of his body. Life has uncanny aim.

Because of my brother’s jumbled up anatomy, his condition was initially misdiagnosed. This led to serious complications. (Don’t worry. Except for being an appendix short and the fact that his colon is now a semi-colon, he's fine.)

Our family took turns staying by his side while he was at the hospital. During my shift, I started reading the book The Time Traveler’s Wife. For those of you have read this novel, you will know that this isn’t the best story to read when you’re emotionally exhausted. I had a cloud of gloom hanging over me for weeks after I finished the book.

The dark cloud seemed to hover closest when I was stuck in traffic with nothing to do but cry over Henry DeTamble. That’s when Max, the main character of Before Ever After, hopped into my car to cheer me up. At the next intersection, he introduced me to his wife and friends and started telling me all about The Slight Detour, the offbeat European tour he ran. By the time I got home, his story was swirling around in my head.

I could not have predicted how those long hours curled up with Audrey Niffenegger’s wonderful novel by my brother’s hospital bed would lead me to writing – and I’m glad. Crooked lines make more interesting journeys, don’t you think?

35 comments:

Cathy Kozak said...

A tongue in cheek read; I alternated worry with small, nervous giggles (into my hand and my eyes certainly did not giggle). I hope he is okay.

mymommyology said...

Indeed... I couldn't agree more.

Everything happens for a reason! You just have to be brave enough to take the journey through it.

Hillary Jacques said...

So then should I be embarrassed that I found this by googing "Burst Time Traveler in the Appendix of a Traffic Jam"? Just kidding. The story of how you came to writing is lovely. :)

Brynne said...

They say a soul-driven life twirls in spirals. Looks like our hearts, and your brother's appendix, agree!

EQ said...

If everything is smooth sailing right from the beginning, we cannot become people of substance and character. By surmounting paining setbacks and obstacles, we can create a brilliant history of triumph that will shine forever. That is what makes life so exciting and enjoyable. In any field of endeavour, those who overcome hardships and grow as human beings are advancing towards success and victory in life.
-- Daisaku Ikeda

C.M. Villani said...

Absolutely, Sam. I couldn't have said it better. Honestly my whole life has turned out to be a series of crooked lines. All unintentional. And never once did I think I'd end up where I am. :)

Life is just full of surprises. :)

Catherine Stine said...

I'm glad your brother's okay! Yes, certain books seem to "fall into my hands" at the most uncanny times.

C.M. Villani said...

Oh and P.S. I hate it when books/tv shows leave me in a depressed funk after I read/watch it. But I suppose it proves how good it was if it resonates with you that long after. :)But still....Ugh!

Kate Evangelista said...

Sometimes, it's the zigs and the zags that make the journey worth it. Walking into a store that caught your interest, even if you get separated from your tour group. It's the art of getting lost and discovering something worthwhile during the process of finding your way back. :-)

kellyhashway said...

What a great story! I love how a bad situation resulted in something amazing. I'm also glad your brother is okay.

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Cathy - He's A-OK. This experience led him down his own interesting path - but that is his story to tell :D

Mymommyology -Absolutely! Every journey, no matter how crazy, leads you to where you are supposed to be.

Hillary - LOL! You just made me spurt coffee out of my nose!!!

Brynne - "Soul-driven life twists in spirals." WOW. I adore the imagery here. Beautiful.

EQ -Great quote! Agree 100%!

Christina - Crooked lines ROCK. Without life's twists and turns, I have a feeling writers would be out of business. (And yes - I'm echoing your UGH about post-reading funk!) :)

Catherine - I think the "Great Librarian" of the universe may have something to do with leading us to the right books :)

Kate - Exactly! "...the art of getting lost" - LOVE this. Can you imagine how many things we'd miss out on if we never took detours or lost our way?

Kelly - Thanks! :D I suppose this why I'm always interested in what goes on "behind the scenes" of the books I read. There are always two stories in every book - the one printed on its pages and the other that brought the book to life.

Scrollwork said...

They say we are not what we do. In this case, however, you are most definitely a writer because you wrote, and continue to write. It is both what you do and a large part of who you are, dreamed of becoming, and poured your heart, sweat and fears into finally realizing.

I read that book, too. But I didn't write all the quirky plot lines and snippets of dialogue that came to mind because I had a so-called writing job that propped up my identity. Having it taken away forced me to redefine and take the leap into blogging, photography, and clothing design. Nothing like a crisis of opportunity to reveal who we are!

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Scrollwork - Indeed! Detours force us to take a hard look at where we are and find the path that leads to where we truly need to go. :)

(eye)candy said...

Whenever I read an entry, I always end up having a staring contest with Mr. 'Post a Comment' and his empty box. This time, I'm not letting him win (It took me a good 10 minutes though).

Love this post! Where is the 'Like' button, pls? :)

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Hahaha!!! I know what you mean!!! Take that, Mr. Post a Comment! :D

locke said...

(eye)candy's comment was so funny, now Mr. Post a Comment will be knocked down by a one-two punch. (eye)candy's was one, this is two. Great posts attract equally interesting comments.

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

LOL!!! *Mr. Post a Comment is waving a white flag*

MuMuGB said...

Life is not a straight line, isn't it? Well, here they say that every cloud has its silver lining (I like this expression). Your story is a perfect example of this!

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Hi, MuMuGB! I'm curious - is there an equivalent French expression to express this thought? :)

Serendipity's Library said...

Samantha, Great Post! I love your blog and all of the visual elements you include in your posts. Thanks for stpping by and visiting my blog. Have a Wonderful Day.

Kara said...

I agree wholeheartedly. Crooked paths always lead to the best places and everything happens for a reason.

(Florida) Girl said...

The Time Traveler's Wife is one of my favorites.

stacey said...

I love it! It seems like everyone is always wanting to see the future, to rush toward that end goal/result, and then we lose sight of the journey, that beautiful moment that is the here and now. But, maybe that's just me. It seems I am always taking the long way around.... I like that I get more to see. :-)
Always love your posts.

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Serendipity's blog - Thank you!!! So great to see you over here :D

Kara - Indeed! Straight lines are boring :D

Florida Girl - Sooo great, right? The best books always leave me with a "hangover." :D

Stacey - Thank you!!! You are definitely not alone. I love taking the "scenic" route! :D

Janel said...

Crooked, bumpy roads lead to some of the most interesting discoveries.

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Exactly :-) You never know what's waiting for you around the next corner.

lizmichalski said...

Glad your brother is ok! TTTW is one of my favorite books and was a big inspiration for me as well.

M Kathy Brown said...

Sam ~
Your pic of the maze is perfect for this post! Thank you so much for sharing some of your crooked lines with us :~)

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Liz - Thanks! (He's responsible for the VW van pic you see popping up on the Friday Field Trip posts. He swapped model cars like a madman until he got the van we needed :D ) Knowing that TTTW inspired you makes me even more excited to read Evenfall!

Kathy - Soooooo happy to share this journey with all of you guys :)

Jessica Hill said...

It is so strange how life will throw us in new directions. I haven't read the novel yet, though I did see the movie and loved it. This was a great post, and I'm glad to hear that your brother is okay!

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Thanks, Jessica! If you liked the movie, I HIGHLY recommend you read the book. I'm sure you'll love it just as much - if not more. (Just make sure you have a box tissues nearby. ;-)

ocmominmanila.com said...

Very witty (eye)candy!

I love the "his colon is now a semi-colon" line!! We could both join an appendix-less group.

Agree totally on the post. I've always felt my life has twisted this way and that. Hey, if not for that weird turn in NY, we wouldn't have reconnected!

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

OCMom - Absolutely! Our NY trip was quite a wonderful twist to our lives! :D (And I didn't know you didn't have an appendix anymore!)

Leah said...

This reminds me immediately of "Bless the Broken Road" but put so much better! It's fun to think back(think = happy memory pondering, not wallowing regret pondering!) and you can sometimes see something, large or small, that had much more of an impact on your life than you initially realized. So long as you either stay on the positive side, or the learn from it side, that is :o) Thanks Sam!

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Indeed! I believe our attitude towards the curve balls thrown our way ultimately impacts where our little detours will take us. :D