I knew it was going to die soon.
“That makes no sense,” my husband argued when I confessed that I had received the Prophecy of the Dying Battery. Probably he is right. Certainly he is right. Nevertheless, my truck signals the imminent death of its battery by making the stereo reset completely every time I turn the key in the ignition. It’s like leaves falling signals autumn. When the stereo resets, the battery is dying.
The battery died yesterday. Luckily, it was in the driveway and not the parking lot at work.
This truck has been my main means of transport for 15 years. It is about to reach 200,000 miles. 99.99% of those miles were driven by me. I make the mechanic and my husband nuts by stating things like thus and such a noise is a quarter tone lower than it should be, and therefore something is wrong. I cannot be more specific, nor can the truck, but we both know.
And I’m looking forward to getting to this stage with writing.
Instinct is something I’m coveting right now. I’d like to know when the story is a quarter tone off, or the clutch is getting mushy. Then I could fix it.
I’m deep in a revision at the moment, and this “instinct” seems like a fine thing to have, a thing that might have saved me a pack of 100 plain index cards, some of my finest swear words, and a whole lot of musing, among other things. I covet this thing. I envy writers who have it. I rely on my agent to supply a healthy dose of it. Why don’t I have it in a quantity satisfactory to me? What deal must I broker to get some more?
Then I remember the truck. The only reason I can receive the Prophecy of the Dying Battery is instinct, born of turning the odometer over once and laying bets I can do it again. Hours and hours and hours of driving under all conditions, all speeds, all weathers, and all moods. I spend a serious chunk of time reading and writing, but I’m not sure whether my writing time (especially if we’re only counting the deliberate, solid time spent since 2011 and not the devil-may-care random writing time from prior to 2011, which was passionate but undisciplined and largely uninformed) exceeds my drive time.
So. Now the aim is to turn the writing odometer over.