Summer Notes

It’s cloudy and dark out of one window and there are blue skies out of the other window. This is not unlike my emotional state.

Everyone has been all up in arms about the study that found that people would rather shock themselves then think. Although I’m just as concerned about people’s attention spans as the next book-loving, ADD copyeditor, I am not worried about the report. You know how when you tell someone not to think about pink elephants they can’t get pink elephants out of their head? Go in this room and think.

The human reaction is I don’t wanna think. Where’s my smartphone? Why didn’t I bring in the crossword? I’m hungry. Where are the windows? What’s this button, ow!

But stick a person in a car and send her out to [place redacted], and she’s going to think. I was hoping to solve my schlock novel on the four-hour drive, but my thoughts were too meandering. Who needs silly things like plots anyway? I got a couple good ideas about The Fucker on my way home. I spent some time wondering why the only books by women in the science section of my favorite used bookstore in [location redacted] were gift books and one study about rocks.

Unfortunately driving took up a lot of the narrative in my head. I invented a couple of new curse word combinations to describe left-lane bandits and various cars that pissed me off for no reason other than that they were on the road as the same time as I was. (Let’s just say I was glad to get home.)

What do you think about when you drive? How do you remember your story/book ideas without writing them down?


9 responses to “Summer Notes

  1. I think about all sorts of things when I drive, so much so that I often can’t remember even the route I took or anything I saw on the way home. Yesterday I had to go down to Chehalis to pick up my daughter and ended up waiting for her there for two hours without a book or notebook. So I just kicked back on a park bench and thought about stuff. I wasn’t the least bit bored.

  2. What do you think about when you drive?
    I’ve come up with some great titles while driving, and while yelling expletives at asshole drivers. Of course MY driving is perfect.

  3. I drove home today thinking about how antisocial I’ve felt this entire summer. Someone starts talking to me and I’m screaming “Shut Up!” in my head. It’s bad, but also good. I’m totally in my cave, and that’s where work gets done.

    • There’s a great Mary Oliver essay where she talks about how great it is to forget your dentist appointment and Uncle Joe’s birthday, etc., because you’re writing. Of course she also had a wife that took care of all the rest.

  4. One morning, I started driving my kids to school, but two of my characters started arguing in my head, and I ended up driving them to the library instead.

    The kids were amused. The characters were smug.

    But I remembered to write it down later (Cassie and Konrad, BTW)

  5. When I heard about that study of non-thinking people, I knew I would have aced it. Fifteen minutes alone with my thoughts? Yes, please! I think about all kinds of things on my long drives (my daily commute, on the other hand, is only about 5 minutes each way). And I think on my long runs — I don’t listen to music when I run or drive. Sure, I get lots of ideas for stories and such, and then I forget them, but they always come back, and eventually I’m able to write them down.

  6. When I’m driving I think “don’t crash/get lost/get stuck in a snow storm” . Wait…that’s only when I’m in the car with you Indy. Who can think with three boys yelling/ fighting I the back seat? Good thing I’m not a writer because I’d never be able to remember any of my potentially brilliant ideas.

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