Janesville28.9°

Calgon, take me away!

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Jamie Swenson
March 20, 2012

Do you ever get the feeling that the Universe has plans for you, but has failed to send you the memo? It seems that over the past few weeks, the Universe has decided that I do not get to write. Nope. I get to do many other important things -- but not write.

Some brilliant writer once said, “Writers write.” Was that Hemingway? Flannery O’Connor? I can’t remember at the moment … but the point is … writers write. Writes who do not write get cranky. CRANKY!

So, today, after a brief morning meeting at the library and a walk of the crazy dog, I set off to write. Where? Well, Mocha Moment of course. I arrived around 10:30 a.m. and was in the mood to get some serious work done. I claimed a table by an open window. Enjoyable breeze. Yummy writing muffin. Medium vanilla cappuccino … ah … and now to write.

Nope. I had some urgent emails to answer. Fine. CHECK!

Now write.

Nope. I had to do a bit of reading to catch up on where I’d left off. Okay good.

Ready, read, write!

And I was off … write, write, write …. And then the general murmur of the coffee shop changed. A Gazette photographer showed up. Another photographer showed up. People were milling about. Milling. There was a bit of excitement in the air. I noticed that the people were gathering in groups. Was I in the middle of a party? What was going on here?

Keep writing. Ignore whatever is going on.

But what if it’s a retirement party and I’m crashing? But why would the Gazette be here?

Something is up (can’t get much past me, hey?)

Keep writing. Ignore. Ignore.

Two women sat down at the table next to me. They were talking excitedly about what was about to happen, but I refused to listen. Until they said, “There she is!” So I turned and asked them what was going on.

“That’s Kathleen Vinehout. She’s running for governor.”

Oh. Huh. I knew that there were two Kathleens in the race. Apparently, I was about to meet one of them.

The woman who entered the coffee shop looked friendly enough. She started around the room doing the meet and greet thing. People were asking questions and she was looking them in the eye and talking to them -- passionately.

Am I really supposed to write over this? Then the photographer from the Gazette grabbed the extra chair from my table, stood on it, and started snapping more photos of Ms. Vinehout talking to folks.

I was smack dab in the middle of a political rally. Are you kidding me?!

Does the Universe not want me to write today? Is that what I’m hearing?

Then Ms. Vinehout arrived at my table. She shook my hand and answered a question from the ladies next to me. She seemed down-to-earth. Apparently, she was a dairy farmer. She used some clever puns about udders. Writers like puns. Well, I like puns.

Okay, fine. I get it. I am not supposed to write today. I am supposed to learn something about WI politics today. Okay. What I learned about Kathleen Vinehout today is that she was a dairy farmer, but she also has a doctorate and taught at the university level for many years. She’s comfortable speaking in a coffee shop with people buying muffins behind her, fairly funny (punny), comes from somewhere way up north, and thinks that the private and the public sectors should work together to accomplish tasks. Imagine that - she’s moderate in her opinions. She thinks that government should work for the people. Huh. I quit pretending to write and listened to her. She answered questions and did all the politician things. I may even check out her website.

Guess the Universe did have other plans for me (again) today. However, I’m not feeling all that cranky about it. I learned something new today, met a very nice human being who seems earnest in her efforts to make our state better and heal some of the wounds.

Maybe tomorrow will be a better writing day.

Or not.

Happy Reading.



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