Gloom, despair, and agony on me! Yesterday morning, when my alarm sounded its usual five a.m. wake-up call, I struggled to drag myself out of bed. My head didn't lift more than a few inches off the pillow, though, before a wave of vertigo forced me back down. I knew right away this was more than a case of Monday-Morningitis. My temples pounded like orchestral tympani. I eased back into a prone position and resigned myself to a day of rest, despite the stacks of work waiting on my office desk.
My misery had company, though. My 21-year-old daughter had scheduled to have all of her wisdom teeth extracted, and by noon, she was back home--chipmunked cheeks and sans four teeth. She and I moaned and groaned in stereo all afternoon.
Thank goodness, I'm feeling much better today--back at work and plugging away--and Courtney is fortified with a gallon of homemade ice cream and a stack of favorite DVDs to get her through her recovery. I was beginning to think our distress was contagious. . .that we'd contracted it from a stricken acquaintance and stood in jeopardy of passing it on to another unsuspecting party. You see, this week is our church's annual district camp meeting, and since my husband is in charge of the event, you can imagine the panic he faced when he received word Saturday evening that Sunday's special speaker had his flight from Oklahoma cancelled due to mechanical failure. David breathed a little easier when he learned the minister had rebooked his flight--this time going through Chicago and arriving in Cleveland around supper time.
The people who were providing transportation made a hasty departure for the new arrival destination, only to discover the speaker didn't make his connecting flight in Chicago. The poor waylaid traveler finally made it to his host's home at midnight Saturday. Unfortunately, his luggage didn't accompany him. The distinquished, elderly churchman would have to preach in his traveling clothes. To add injury to insult, as he was walking downstairs to the basement guestroom to retire for what was left of the night, he fell head-long down the steps, bloodying his nose (and only set of clothes) and suffering numerous bruises and scrapes. Despite the warm welcome we East Ohioans extended to this denominational leader, I doubt he left our fair state with many fond memories, for I learned that, as he finished his final address last night and walked toward the parking lot, he did another spread-eagle sprawl in the parking lot.
As much as we hate to see our friends and loved ones suffer, we must never give in to the temptation to make life easy for our fictional characters. I think romance writers, particularly, want to pamper their characters and shelter them from life's hard knocks. Avoid such lures at all costs. For without conflict, you have no story. Make 'em suffer. Headaches, dizzy spells, tooth extractions, missed flights, lost luggage, tumbles and falls. And just when things start looking up, hit 'em with the mother of all catastrophes.
Oh, boy. Now that I'm feeling good again, I am afraid to think of what double-whammy awaits me on the other side of my office door!