Friday, October 1, 2010

Lessons Learned on the Highway

Last week I spent several days in Athens, Ga. The Georgia Conference of Instructional Specialists was there, and I helped man the vendor booth for Delaney. The conference itself was fairly uneventful. I met a few new people, made some contacts, those things all conferences afford.

It was the journey there and back that is worth remembering. There is no easy route from Columbus to Athens. You either travel the legs of a right triangle, north to Atlanta and west to Athens, or you drive along the hypotenuse over two-lane roads through a lot of small towns. The hypotenuse is shorter in distance, but the legs of the right angle are faster.


I knew I would hit Atlanta in traffic, but my GPS said to go that way. Google maps said to go that way. My brother said to go that way. My gut said to go the hypotenuse, but who am I to argue with the experts? I went t
o Atlanta. After about 15 minutes of I-285 bumper to bumper traffic moving at 20 miles an hour, I ditched the highway.

I found an exit that wasn't backed up past the exit ramp and headed into the winding roads of suburbia Atlanta until I found a two-lane road that would take me to Athens. It took a while. I wound around the back side of Stone Mountain on a slightly scary, rock quarry truck kind of road. At one point, I passed a sign that said "Between City Limits."

Do you live in Between? How far is it to Between? It's just Between us.

I made it to Athens in only about half an hour of extra travel time.

On the return trip, I knew I needed to be home before 7:00. I was acting as registrar for the local Chattahoochee Writers Conference that began Friday evening. Despite my gut, which was still saying to go the hypotenuse, I took the legs of the right angle back home. It was only 2:00, and I thought for sure I would miss rush hour traffic. I forgot it was Friday. I didn't even make it to Atlanta before the four-lane highway was again bumper to bumper.

Turn left, head southwest.

I wandered and meandered through who knows where until I finally found the road that formed the hypotenuse. You don't want to know how long it took me to get home. I did make it before the speaker started--barely.

All during this trip, I was wrestling with a decision concerning a contract for a book I've written. It's a small publisher in the UK. The entire process and the contract details have been fairly nontraditional--at least in my experience. Logic says to say no, to go a more traditional route, to find a US publisher and take my chances on a better deal.

That reasoning sounds an awful lot like taking the legs of the right triangle. By the end of the trip, I had come to the conclusion that I would be kicking myself all the way through "Between" if I went that direction.

So, I'm going the back way where there is peace and a lot of joy in the journey.

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