Peggy Bechko: Life’s Disasters, a Writers POV

by Peggy Bechko

I sat myself down to write a blog post and I said to myself, “Self, what to write about?”Leaky_Roof

Then I knew. The leak in the roof. Yes, indeed, living in a flat-roofed house can be challenging. It’s raining. There’s a leak. There’s also a big bubble in the ceiling I had to pierce to let the water out – and more rain is predicted and the roof guy is, well, busy.

So now you’re reading this and you’re saying to yourself what the heck does a leak in the roof, no matter how challenging, have to do with writing?

Everything has something to do with writing.

Yes, if you look at it right, writing is life. And, all of life’s challenges, big and small really contribute to that writing fabric.


Well, consider this. What if someone was trapped in a burning house and that water pouring in wasn’t rain, but water from a fire truck, which firemen were trying to douse the flames?

What if it wasn’t water at all, but some liquid discharging from a spaceship overhead? What if it’s water flushed from a plane far overhead and god knows what’s in it? What if there’s a crack between dimensions and the water is falling through, right on the house?

What if it is just water coming in through a leak in the roof, pouring into buckets while lightning flashes and thunder booms outside but you’re so distracted by dealing with it that you don’t see or hear the psychotic murder slip in the house behind you?

What if you’re actually in an apartment and the water spilling in is from the neighbor above’s overflowing shower – stopped up by his body? What if it’s a giant alien peeing on the roof? (Huh? What? Got kinda carried away with that one.)

But here’s the thing – it’s what if, what if, what if. Now I know you’ve heard that one before so I’ll just press on.

Life throws a bunch of crap at us all the time. As writers we’re actually lucky. We have “what if”. Everything that happens can be twisted around to be a plot element – lots of them don’t need much twisting! Yep, we still need to cope with whatever life disaster has just been thrown at us, but we have the good fortune of being able to twist and turn it to our own angle. A whole world can rise around a single incident. And that’s just this week. Who knows what joyous event life will throw at us next week.

So the next time you get your allotment of crap thrown your way rejoice! Plot twists and turns – new ideas — new possibilities. Come on, you can do it.

Next time that plumbing backs up from your septic, consider if there’s something that’s moved in down there. Next time some idiot almost clips you when you’re walking in a cross walk think about whether he or she intended to take you out. Next time there’s water pouring into your living room and you’re head of the bucket brigade continue with what you’re doing, but consider, what if>>>

And now I have to go meet the roof fixer guy, so I’ll just tuck my what ifs away….but wait, what if he’s a guy who escaped from the mob a long time ago and has lived a live as a normal guy but now they’re on his trail and they might just catch up to him when he’s on the roof… what if?