Thursday, January 17, 2008

cruise control

i like to drive. events conspired to withhold a driver's license until three weeks to the day before katie was born, but once i got the hang of it, i was hooked.

there is a part of me that functions well behind the wheel, genetic memories, perhaps, of chariot races or long ago cattle drives. my father was an especially good driver, smooth, quick to analyze and respond, assertive on the road, but never agressive. i know i drive like he did.

there is another part of me that functions even better. i had a clue of this when katie and i commuted back and forth to job and daycare when she was three. tell me a story, mommy, she'd say, as i buckled her into her seat. tell me a good one.

i don't know how it used to happen - how words would flow and images appear, how concepts would occur and leap and bridge themselves, almost effortlessly among the knotted gnarls of rush hour traffic. inching up market street, braking on 95, something in that knotted coil opened up a doorway into something else.

some years ago, i read something that said that driving was a left brain activity, that set the right brain free. thats why listening to music while driving is so satisfying - the side of the brain that appreciates music is free to really enjoy it while the other half drives.

i went down to my mother's not so much out of filial duty, as for the eight hour drive it took me to get there and back. there is something about putting the car into cruise control on an open stretch of road that allows my mind to wander, to soar, to refresh.

the open sky reflects for me the inner gray void, from which the characters emerge and act, like stick figures at first, bare as winter trees. as some piece of me remains critically engaged with the outer world, some other piece sinks with equal clarity into that inner landscape. 19 chapters into this final revision, my vision feels refreshed by that four hundred mile drive.

my mother has no idea what a gift that was to me. :)

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

1 comment:

Stacie said...

Driving does the same thing for me. I listen to music and wait as the inspiration flows. I always have an open notebook and pen on the passengers seat so I don't lose those snippets and images. The left brain/right brain makes a lot of sense. Glad you were refreshed.