Note: This is a repost from December, 2015 that I think is just as appropriate today.
When people ask me how I come up with all the plots I use in my mystery novels, I tell them I’m not really all that creative, I just write down what the voices in my head tell me to.
What? You don’t have voices in your head? Sure you do!
Maybe your voices don’t give you literary advice, but I learned a long time ago that it’s a good idea to listen. Call it what you will, a guardian angel, a sixth sense, intuition, judgment, or whatever works for you. But listen to it, because sometimes it can keep you out of trouble, or even save your life.
I think I first became aware of it when I was a young soldier. There were a few times when I was going to move in one direction, or put my foot someplace, and something told me not to. Maybe it wasn’t a verbal “voice” but it was something that made me rethink what I was about to do.
It’s happened in civilian life too, as I’m sure it has to you, even if you weren’t aware of it. Sometimes you just get a feeling that makes you more aware and alert, or convinces you to make a last-minute change of plans. Maybe you were going to hit the road but for whatever reason woke up that morning and decided to stay put an extra day or two. You might never know what could have happened, but other times it may be very clear.
I remember when we were shopping for a motorhome to replace our old MCI bus conversion. We found one that looked good online in Las Vegas, and since we were only a couple of hours away we drove up to check it out. Though we had called the night before to set up a time to see the rig, when we got there nobody was home. I called the seller and he said something had come up and he wanted us to meet him in a parking lot several miles away. That didn’t feel good, but we went there and waited for half an hour, and he never showed up. That little voice was whispering that something was wrong but we thought that maybe we had gotten our directions wrong, so I called back and this time he gave me a different address to go to in a residential area.
But when we got there, the woman at the house said no, he was someplace else. By now that voice was not whispering, it was shouting “forget this deal” and we were ready to head back out of town when he called us back to say he was on the way. So we pulled into a parking lot and a few minutes later somebody else, not the original seller, showed up in the motorhome. It was a total piece of junk, and though he had told us he was selling it for a family member who was in poor health, the salvage auction paperwork was still lying on the dashboard. Needless to say, we were in and out of the thing in minutes.
When on the road from Point A to Point B, we didn’t always want to pay for a campground just to pull in and sleep for a few hours. We did a lot of blacktop boondocking in our 18+ years as fulltime RVers. I could not begin to count the number of WalMarts, truck stops, highway rest areas, casinos, and vacant parking lots where we spent the night. We used common sense in where we chose to park overnight, and in all of those years, we never had a problem. But there were times we pulled into a place and something just didn’t feel right. There was nothing obvious that made the little hairs on the back of our necks stand up and made that little voice say “keep on driving,” but we heeded the warning anyway. Would something bad have happened if we stayed there? Again, we will never know. But I’m still glad we listened.
A couple of times we have been in our SUV and gone into a parking lot of a store, and spotted somebody lurking about that just didn’t seem right. They may have been wonderful, upright citizens, but we didn’t feel good and we went someplace else to do our shopping.
Does this make us paranoid? Maybe so. But then again, ignoring that voice could get you into a world of hurt. Why take the chance?
Congratulations Peggy Freeman, winner of our drawing for a Kindle Paperwhite e-book reader. We had 244 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon.
Thought For The Day – I have stopped asking, “How stupid can you be?” Too many people were taking it as a challenge.
You’re smarter than I am, I didn’t start listening to that voice until I hit my mid fifties.