Saturday, December 15, 2007

the writing life?

I wish there was a way to write while you drive. I have all these great ideas while I'm driving, and then when I get to where I'm going and get settled down with pen and ink or computer key board -- pouf, all the thoughts have disappeared and I can't remember any of the great ideas I had while driving.

Last week I needed a short poem to go with the photograph I'd chosen for my annual holiday cards. I had a first line "Memories of snow..." It was December 7, and the weather was 65 degrees. The photograph was I had taken 14 years earlier when a significant snow fell on October 28th, just before Halloween. Thinking about global warming (what with the impending Bali conference upper most in my mind), feeling the warmth, and looking at the photo -- "memories of snow" leapt to mind. But the rest of the poem would not come.

Two days of staring at blank pages later, I had to drive 30 mile round trip to the pharmacy to refill my monthly prescriptions. I'd been driving 5 minutes, when I started getting ideas. I worked them out verbally, fine tuning it, until by 12 minutes into the trip I had the first verse:

Memories of snow
linger in the heart
recalling the joys
of the season.

But I'm still 13 minutes away from my destination, and in a hurry -- had to get to the pharmacy before it closed. I knew if I just let it go, I'd never remember it when I finally stopped the car. So I made up a tune, and began singing the verse over and over. That held it in my mind until I got the the pharmacy, and as soon as the car was parked I whipped out a card and jotted down the verse. Almost immediately, the second verse came to me and I jotted it down, too.

May the lights
of the holidays
cast their glow
into the new year.

Not Shakespeare (or Emily Dickinson either). But just right for my holiday cards.
I just wish I could figure out a way to capture all the other ideas that I have while driving. I do my best "blog" writing while driving, and I've developed the plots for three novels while driving. But only a fraction of those ideas get written down, because they disappear when the when the car stops. I'd like to know from some one who deals with the brain and cognitive science just what it is about driving that makes all these creative ideas flow.


Qaro said...

Hi, nice blog. I know what you mean about ideas. Maybe they float away and someone else gets them? : )

sgreerpitt said...

I hope that they go somewhere! Thanks for stopping by!