Several years ago, I was traveling with a friend in Italy. While out walking one day, we came across this beautiful gate, beyond which we could see a number of stone garden gnomes standing within the greenery. (That's the gate in the photo at below.)
My friend and I looked at each other, and without a word we took the mysterious path beyond the gate.We knew those gnomes would lead us somewhere interesting.
Sure enough, after hiking along a hidden stream, what we encountered was one of the most beautiful gardens I've ever seen, filled with flowers and stone caves.
I remember the experience so well because it hadn't been planned. If it had been a tourist spot that we had planned on visiting, I doubt it would have made the same impression on me.
I don't believe the garden is even really that beautiful. But because it was an unplanned adventure, it stuck with me. I don't remember where we were initially headed that day, but I remember that secret garden.
The reason I love unpredictable adventures in real life is the same reason I devour mystery novels. I want to be surprised. To be wowed. To think "ah, of course!" when I reach the end.
I love where I am in my life right now, but at the same time it's quite predictable. I rarely have adventures like that of the mysterious Italian garden gnomes these days. (Getting stranded due to the Icelandic ash cloud while on vacation last spring doesn't count--at least not until I've forgotten the details of our 40+ hour journey getting home.)
I'll take these adventures when they come along, but in the meantime I've got mysteries to provide my twists and turns. The set-up has to be done right, like those gnomes that beckoned to us, and then I'm along for the ride to see where the adventure takes me.
p.s. All right. You got me. My life isn't that predictable these days. I've got my first author reading coming up at noon on Saturday, June 4, at M is for Mystery in San Mateo, CA. I'll be joining other Sisters in Crime mystery authors--including Juliet Blackwell--and reading from my locked-room mystery short story that appears in Fish Tales: The Guppy Anthology. If you're in the area I hope you'll stop by!