Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Road Trip

Cricket McRaeI love to write while I'm driving. Well, not literally write, but plot and make notes and yakety yak into my mini-cassette recorder. My guy offers sympathy when I have to drive two hours to a signing and then turn around and make the trip back home. I don't know how to tell him how much I enjoy the time alone, trying out bits of dialog out loud, pulling over on occasion to make notes if the recorder isn't handy.

There is something soothing about the sound of the road under the wheels, the ever changing view, the blur of the center lines whipping, whipping, whipping by. Growing up, the long car trips I took with my mother and father were heaven. I'd lay in the back seat, staring at the ceiling of our Volkswagon bug and dream. Or, I'd stare out the window at the passing scenery ... and dream. Elaborate stories unrolled across my mental windshield for hours upon hours. I think back on that now and realize it was practice for my chosen profession of storyteller.

Right now I'm on one of the same road trips I used to take as a child: Colorado up to Montana via Wyoming to see my ninety-year-old grandmother. I've already visited with family, eaten Chester-fried chicken, stopped at the Purple Cow restaurant, and taken Grandma out to the Red Lobster for her annual dose of steamed live lobster and a baked potato as big as your head. I'm traveling with my guy, and we share the driving. The I-Pod is plugged into the FM receiver and we're headed back home. And I'm dreaming.

Does driving -- or riding -- stir your creative juices?


Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Oh yeah. I get a lot of great ideas on the road. Most of the first chapter of The Curse of the Holy Pail was conceived while stuck in bumper to bumper traffic in LA. As soon as I got home, I dashed to my computer and wrote it out, almost word for word. I tried keeping notes on a recorder, but could never get comfy with it. Though sometimes I call my voicemail and leave myself a short message.

I hate traffic, but love long drives on the open road, especially driving alone.

Lisa Bork said...

Sometimes my characters talk to me in the car, but they're still unable to drown out my kids fighting in the back seat.

Deborah Sharp said...

I agree that driving is good for the creative juices ... but it has to be on the open roads, not here in congested South Florida. Here, the only creative response I get while driving is thinking up curse words to call the idiot who just cut me off with inches to spare ... Grrr!

Keith Raffel said...

I like driving, too. I guess a creative lightning bolt is as likely to strike in the car as in the middle of 1) the night, 2) a discussion with my wife, or 3) a movie.

Cricket McRae said...

I love the idea of leaving yourself a voice message to make sure you don't forget something. And I also "write" in my head and then rush to get down as soon as possible.

Children in the car would definitely be a distraction. ; - >

City traffic sucks, and doesn't fall under the heading of fun driving. I don't miss the Seattle road jams at ALL.

In addition to the open road, I find the shower to be oddly conducive to creativity. Go figure.

G.M. Malliet said...

Train trips, not driving. Love them, very productive. Driving...there's too much else going on, v. distracting.