Maverick and Goose felt the need for speed in Top Gun. (I’m particularly fond of the opening scene with the battleship’s smoky deck and flurry of jets landing and taking off.) Kenny Loggins’ soundtrack, action/adventure, romance, all make Top Gun a classic. With this in mind, I’ve been wondering lately where my need for speed originates and why I’m impatient these days.
Every day, technology tests our limitations at an alarming rate. Boundaries in society are constantly heightened or lowered paving the way for the future. Gadgets that make life easier preoccupy society more than investing time into achieving ordinary tasks. Cell phones can do just about anything these days. Computers are getting smaller. Information is only a click away. Family, friends and the office are only a text away.
Or so it appears… Everywhere you look, someone somewhere wants an instant fix for their problems. Born into a generation of instant gratification, it seems as if everything about life happens faster these days, for better or worse.
Are we happier in this techno world? Is the yellow brick road to success more quickly attained? Driving to work, I pass Mavericks and Gooses right and left. Some change lanes repetitively and dangerously, without turn signals. Others pull out in front of you, slowing down the pace and frustrating those who haven’t had their Starbucks fix. Everyone is in a hurry. In order to keep from having an accident, an early morning driver is forced to crank up Kenny Loggins and ignite his/her jet engines to stay with the flow. The unfortunate result: acute deafness and helmet hair. ~sigh~
If speed is the way of life nowadays, steering future generations, why do I feel like I’ve stalled with an empty tank?
Writing is not enhanced by speed. Writing needs a brisk wind to flutter the sails of creativity and a compass pointing to what a writer wants most. Every day, writers strike a pose, putting their butts onto chairs in an ambitious move to complete their mission like jet pilots strapping themselves into cockpits. How the two arrive at their destination may differ, but the key preparation needed to successfully land at ‘The End’ or on an airfield/aircraft carrier is the same. Plotting, planning and research aid a writer as keenly as a computerized jet responds to a pilot’s slightest touch. If only a writer could speed up the process of writing, achieving Mock 1, a straight shot at publication. If only a writer could lock onto edits, destroying bad verbiage, clichés and stifling dialogue with the slightest flick of the wrist.
As I take a look at how far Maverick and Goose had to go to become successful pilots, I think about the training that has led me to this point in my life. As a reader, I’ve taken a lifetime to learn. As a writer, I’ve attended local meetings/pilot briefings. I’ve attended conferences and online courses/various Top Gun schools. I’ve put time into contests/simulators and have put in years of writing to strengthen my voice/air time.
This brings me back to my need for speed. I know there isn’t a fast track to publication but wouldn’t it be nice to channel Maverick, get into Kenny Loggins’ mode and arrive at work or 'The End' of a book without helmet hair? What value is there in following an unreliable compass or is it only unreliable because I've stopped taking the time to think of what I want most?
What about you? Is life moving way too fast? How to you compensate when you feel the need for speed?