Sunday, October 01, 2006


roadblock: (1940) 1 A a barricade often with traps or mines for holding up an enemy at a point on a road covered by fire. B. a road barricade set up especially by law inforcement officers.
2. an obstruction in a road.
3. something (as a fact, condition, or countermeasure) that blocks progress or prevents accomplishment of an objective.

I went for a bike ride today along a favourite route that I haven't travelled on for a long time. You used to be able to ride right along by the docks but since 9/11 the waterfront has been blocked off for anything but business traffic. So I rode down the sidewalk on the nearest through street, and managed finally to connect with the sea-wall path through a little park, right to Canada Place downtown. The last time I cycled there, you could go right past there and keep on the sea-wall all the way to Stanley Park. But when I got there today there was a lot of construction work so the route I was familiar with was blocked off and I had to make a lot of detours. Eventually I turned back. Then I couldn't find the waterfront road where I'd come, so I had to walk my bike through Gastown and all the crowds of tourists out sightseeing on this lovely sunny Autumn day. Finally I reached the street that I'd ridden on downtown and managed to get back home. But it wasn't nearly as insteresting a ride as the one going. The detours were frustrating and confusing. And it turned into mostly a 'bike walk' instead of a 'bike ride'.

detour (F): a deviation from a direct course or the usual procedure; specif: a roundabout way temporarily replacing part of the route.

The same thing happened to me when I went back to my writing after several weeks away moving and travelling. I had been on a roll before, a pretty straight route, and had my notes planning out the next moves, but in all the confusion and detours, I've somehow lost my way and come to a roadblock. For one thing, the event I'd been about to write (Phokion's execution), I have learned doesn't really happen at that time. Can I tinker with the historical facts and have it occur earlier? Being such a stickler for the correct timelines in my novel, I really don't think so. So it means skirting around it and coming back to it later. A detour.

A couple of other small glitches: I'm not totally comfortable with my work space. It's a bit too crowded and uncomfortable. And for some reason I can't get my printer to work which is certainly preventing me from accomplishing what I need to do. This morning I worked for awhile on the novel, writing most of the scene I'd originally planned, but I need to edit from hard copy. That works best for me. I guess I'll just have to persevere and hope that I can figure out how to get the printer to co-operate. Meanwhile it's back to the drawing board in order to plan a new scene. I'm hoping the Muse will co-operate. It's easy for me to get distracted, go off on wild-goose chases instead of focusing on my writing. I'm hoping for a smooth journey all the way, but there's bound to be a few glitches, little bumps in the road, before I reach my final destination. Meanwhile, I just hope I can relax and enjoy the ride!

"Improvement makes straight roads; but the crooked roads without improvement are roads of genius." William Blake (1757 - 1827) "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1792-1793) Note to the Voice of the Devil." l. 66


Debra Young said...

As you know I've been hitting roadblocks and detours all over the place with A Lamentation of Swans, but I've finally found a straightaway, although I'm expecting a pothole or two to show up. Sometimes, though, the roadblocks and detours take you through interesting country. Happy writing...d:)

Wynn Bexton said...

The biggest pothole in the road right now is my friggin' printer! I installed a new cartridge, have done all the cleaning, alighments etc and still is is only printing the bottom edge of the words. I need print-outs to do my editing and this is frustrating me no end.
Here is it a holiday weekend and I am hoping to do a bit more writing but I've ended up spending all sorts of that time trying to sort out the printer, with no luck. If I had the money, I'd trash it and buy a new one. But there must be something I can do to get it to work properly again. What?