I worry about the tires on my car, mostly because I’ve had a tire blow while I was driving on the interstate. The incident wasn’t my fault – the tire had a nail in it – but it makes me more conscious of how my car sits while I’m driving. It’s that consciousness that has me checking my tires regularly and taking my car to the nearest Discount Tire when I have, yet again, lost one too many quarters to the air machine at the gas station.
My latest experience with my tires has been one of extremes. Last week, the tires were low. I took my car to Discount Tires, and the salesclerk used some spiffy tool with an automated air sensor to fill the tires. I thought everything would be smooth sailing, but it wasn’t. This week, I noticed that my car seemed to wobble when I drove it. It just didn’t feel right, and I should know since I’ve been driving this car for over five years. It didn’t have its usual traction, particularly when the roads were wet. In fact, the tires sped out when they hit some water.
Thus, I returned to Discount Tires. I explained that the car seemed to be wobbling; at least, I tried to explain, which isn’t really explaining. I’m at a loss when confronted with automobile problems. Another salesclerk looked at the tires. He used a tire gauge. He pronounced that the tires had too much air and proceeded to release some of the pressure. Within ten minutes, my car was running like its usual self again.
I think writing and writers have to have the right amount of pressure, too. Too little pressure, and the writing relaxes. The writer stops working on her craft. She decides to take an extended leave of absence. When she returns to the craft, the writing explodes, leaving chunks of rubber in its wake.
Too much pressure, and the writing unsteadies. The writer can’t write because she is trying to carry one too many things. The writer continues to carry those things until she hits a puddle or a patch of black ice, and she finds herself careening out of control. Her writing follows suit.
Both scenarios have remedies, although they aren’t particularly fun. The first requires instilling some discipline. It demands a regimen. It requires a pushing and pulling of one’s skills, a pushing and pulling that never ends.
The second scenario may be more difficult for some (i.e., the perfectionists). It requires a letting go of things. It requires a recognition that one can’t carry everything and expect everything to turn out perfect. It asks a person to remove certain things – and those things can be people or seemingly good things like volunteer work – so that she can find her equilibrium again, so that she can write.
Photo: Robert Couse-Baker