To trumpet the upcoming release of my romantic comedy, Driving in Neutral —a love story about claustrophobia—(now available for pre-order!) I am running the 75 Days of Phobia series. Thanks to all who have joined in and those who have been reading along these past 61 days.
Today’s episode sees author Nicole Murphy making HUGE MISTAKES and fiddling with fate and teflon — you know, that stuff that makes non-stick frying pans non-stick.
The story goes that Roy Plunkett, who was experimenting with a replacement gas for refrigeration, came into work one day and opened one of the tanks to find there had been some sort of a cock-up and the gas was gone. What was left was a strange resin that proved to be extremely resistant to heat and chemicals and thus Teflon was born.
I like to remember stories like this when I cock-up, and I cock-up A LOT! Just last week, I got up Tuesday morning to go back to work after the RWA conference (sniff) and I found that while I’d been smart about putting my work clothes in the wash the night before, I’d then forgotten to put them in the dryer and so I had nothing to wear.
That’s just a small cock-up. I’m capable of some brilliant ones as well. Among my best are:
- The time I realised my Jimmy Barnes tape was being chewed up by my car’s cassette player and I started to reef it out, only I was doing 110ks down the freeway at the time, ran off the road and ripped the bottom out of my car
- The time I checked that I had water and oil in the car (cause I was lending it to my dad cause he needed it) and then I forgot to replace the radiator cap, causing the engine to blow up half way between Sydney and Canberra
- The time I went on a two-week writing retreat and when I arrived, realised I’d packed everything except the power cord for my laptop (now I must bear my husband asking me EVERY TIME if I’ve got the power cord – yes, I do, but it would help if he asked me if I’ve got my medication as well, cause I forget that a lot)
- The time I misunderstood what my boss was saying, gave a client the wrong advice and ended up costing the firm a couple thousand dollars (actually, in two different ways I’ve done this twice…).
So yeah – I’m capable of doing a pretty good cock-up when I put my mind to it. Which leads me to today’s phobia, Hamartophobia – fear of making a mistake.
It could be argued that for the sake of my own sanity, not to mention people around me, that I should NEVER EVER get out of bed. And there are definitely times I’d agree with that assessment – mostly in the hours immediately following a cock-up.
But if I did stay in bed forever, and never do anything, then there’s a lot of good that wouldn’t happen as well. For example:
- I’d never have met or married my husband
- I wouldn’t have my friends and have gone on any of my writing retreats (which, forgotten cord aside, have been awesome – even the one where I broke my ankle just walking across the lawn – yep, sometimes I really shouldn’t get out of bed…)
- I wouldn’t have had seven books published so far, with two more contracted
- I would never have got my scuba diving certification, or gone climbing in Kakadu, or seen the Aboriginal rock paintings at Ubirr, or become an Australian Cricket Board certified cricket coach, or actually seen Johnny Depp in real life, or won a prize for my photography, or won an award for the series of articles I did for the local paper on mental health issues, or actually seen a dolphin leap out of the ocean in front of the setting sun (if I’d seen that on the screen, I would have scoffed but no, it happened for real!).
So when you find that you’re scared to make a move, or take a chance, just remember – sure, it could result in you ripping the bottom off your car and instead of taking a fabulous driving holiday around Victoria, you spend Christmas with your Mum and your at times very whiny little brothers and sisters. OR it could result in you discovering Teflon.
And isn’t Teflon worth it?
Duran Duran loving Nicole Murphy (who also writes as Elizabeth Dunk) is the author of seven books published by HarperCollins Australia and Escape Publishing. Her latest, Loving the Prince, is the first book in a science fiction romance trilogy being published by Escape. She lives in Queanbeyan with her husband Tim and their budgie Freddie and she’s trying really hard not to cock-up too much this week.
You can find Nicole on her website http://nicolermurphy.com and on Twitter @nicole_r_murphy.