Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I Feel The Need For Speed

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?


  1. I'm getting older way too fast. But my divorce is proceeding far too slowly. Go figure.

    And yeah, I'd love to get to 50K in 30 days for NaNoWriMo at top speed! I'm not holding my breath though. I'm afraid that at altitude and pulling a few G's I might just pass out. LOL!


  2. Life moving too fast? Of course it is...and leaving me behind at Warp Speed (I am a Trekker). I cannot keep up and have no way to combat it. As for writing, publication will come, Kathy. You are right - there is no fast track. I have reached a pinnacle and have almost given up. But not quite...

  3. "I'm afraid that at that altitude and pulling a few G's I might just pass out. LOL!"

    PM, you crack me up. It is hard to keep the candle burning at both ends, isn't it? I just found out green tea gives a mental boost and stimulates the metabolism. (Of course, I've known this for ages, which is why I have green tea in my cubbard, but do you think I've used it?) Perhaps a cuppa of green tea could help us both achieve Mock 1. Good luck with NaNo! ;)

    Cheryl, you haven't reached the pinnacle yet. There's a magnificent plateau on the horizon just waiting for you to scale it. If we had a jet and we knew how to fly it, we could get there faster but, sigh, I think we're going to have to do this the old fashioned way with wit, brawn and patience. Might as well enjoy the scenery while we can. Under the Tulip Tree, sitting on our favorite bench, you and I can do this together. ;)

  4. Kathy,
    thanks for a stroll down Memory Lane with Goose and Maverick. I was especially fond of that Ice Man too! (Odd since he was a blond.)

    I agree that life just gets faster and faster. People expect instant communication and gratification almost 100% of the time. It's kinda nuts isn't it?

    I am trying to slow down but it seems like an impossible task. Maybe I need to join you and Cheryl under the tulip tree. I don't care for green tea though. Do you think bourbon would help my mental acuity and metabolism?

  5. Sorry I am so late chiming in. I have been out of pocket all day. I do believe we want things to happen too fast. One of my good friends had major surgery over the summer and she is not herself yet. The doctor keeps telling her to be patient and it will come but the waiting is hard for her.

    Waiting is hard for all of us.

  6. Stephanie, I love Ice Man and Hollywood!

    Btw, I'm not fond of green tea myself. But after watching the Today Show and learning that green tea holds hydration qualities as well as an energizing stimulant that helps you look younger, I may just develop a task for it. ;)

    I don't know about Bourbon, but I do know that Bourbon pie always makes my day worthwhile. ;)

    Jean, sounds like you've had a busy day. As to your friend, I can relate. When I had my knee surgery it took me nearly a year and some injections under my knee cap to recover fully. Her surgery was more extensive and invasive but I'm sure she'll be right as rain very soon. There is always hope in every situation. But the key is to value each and every day we have until we get where we want to be. That's what I've been thinking about lately. Being more in the moment.

  7. I am buying us a bottle of Wild Turkey tomorrow and we are going to pretend it's green tea.

  8. We could always bring food coloring. ;)