Today is not Saturday. I am aware of this - which is a minor miracle. Knowing what day it is, is not my strong point. I am posting today because; it is Monday in my small French village, meaning everything is closed and I can't get anything else done; because I was busy on Saturday.
I was busy digging up inspiration, living life...which means I was at the circus. It is true that a two and a half year-old and a three week-old might be a little young to appreciate a magical three-ring, but hey! it was a family outing.
I had high hopes. I could picture the scene in my head; my son's upturned face, full of awe, lit with red and blue stage lights as he pointed to the lions and tigers and dancing bear (oh my!). I pictured French clowns with charming costumes and that little tear painted on their cheeks. I imagined my fourteen year-old sister excitedly describing her first circus to her American friends (oh la la la!).
But...there were some things I didn't expect. My son adopted the lady beside us, patting her knee and pointing to the show, using her shoulder as a hand-hold when he wanted to stand up, generally treating her like his mommy. The lions, which I thought he'd love, were a little scary, but the doves that kept their equilibrium while on spinning objects had his undivided attention. He needed crackers to get him through the "boring" bits. The clowns were not quaint or "Old World" at all...and their trumpet playing woke up the baby, who decided she was starving. I was also surprised to see that the lion tamer also did the balancing act, the whip act, the juggling act etc.
Sometimes the same thing happens when I'm writing a scene. I've pictured the atmosphere, but the tent ends up a little smaller, the acts are a little more cheesy and the cast is more like a family doing a talent show than professionals. The main characters don't act the way I expected. Or the emotion that I wanted to evoke doesn't quite come through those boring black letters.
Do things ever turn out just a bit different than your expectations? Does it mean that it's ruined for you? Should you just rewrite the scene, forget the experience or memory?
I think it's important to realize that life is often richer and more real for these little "disappointments." It's more believable than the perfect scenario, which ends up feeling a little plastic. In real life, I choose how I will remember things; keeping the funny bits, the glorious bits, the "grain" bits and discarding the "chaff" of someone getting scolded, dropping the juggling pin, whining etc.
I'd love to hear a time when your expectations weren't fulfilled, either in real life or writing, and how you reacted!