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?