The “Hitch” moment – when our best plans take unexpected, and often unwanted turns
There’s a moment in the film Hitch when Will Smith (Hitch) takes Eva Mendes to Ellis Island, in New York, to impress her on a first date. He’s found a distant relative of hers that passed through the border control and helps her find his name in the ledger. To his horror, she starts sobbing and runs away. Unbeknown to him, this relative is a murderer, “the butcher of Cadiz,” the shame of her family. Taken aback, Hitch turns to the security guard and says, “I saw that going differently in my mind.”
This scene sticks in my mind because it sums up such a lot of life (and writing). Our expectations, our plans, our visions turn on themselves, and take unexpected twists and turns. What we think will happen, doesn’t, or if it does, not in the way we imagine. Of course, the plans are important because at least we set out in a direction. Writing is the same. You think you are starting a particular kind of book, and before you know it, it has a life of its own, and starts dictating its own direction.
When writing, I see it mostly as part of the mystery of the creative process. In life, sometimes it can be harder to stay open to the flow. How do we stay open to the world that doesn’t answer our dreams, hopes and expectations? Without dreams, we become trapped in a very drab place. Maybe in the end, it’s how we hold our hopes. We have to decide when it’s worth waiting, when it’s the time to adjust, or when it’s the moment to fight for them.