It’s a bird’s eye view I get – on the drive to and from work. I hit play on my iPod and listen to the latest book I’m into; then maybe two or three minutes in, I’m off on a tangent. Could have been a word that tripped my trigger. Could have been a concept, like “calling a friend,” or “a tsunami in Malaysia,” and I’m outside the car window, traipsing through the tundra with light bulbs and peppermints.
I know all the twists and curves by now. I seem to leave the mechanical part of my body, muscle-memory activated, at the wheel when I go on these side trips. Sometimes I don’t know how I manage not to get a speeding ticket, or how I avoid hitting a cow standing in the road. But when I drift into the cockpit, the speedometer is always right at 50. I don’t have cruise control. My foot just knows by now, I guess.
A delicious word spoken by the narrator and I’m off on another errand of make-believe. I eventually got wise, and nowadays I cue my phone’s voice recorder before I pull out onto the road. I never remember it all the right way later. It’s a bird’s eye view I get, on those winding roads, into my storytelling superpower.
Now, if I could just find my damn cape.
There’s a swish and I’m disengaged. It’s that moment between wakefulness and sleep, when I can still hear the crickets or the podcast, but I don’t feel the rest of my body. That moment when my inner self tells me, demands me to rest. I rarely listen. I fight my own parts, surreal and tangible, and instead grope at one last thing. I work all day and tend to chores and “have to” items when I get home. What ever happened to that swirled fabric of space/time, wrapped around us like cotton-candy, that we used to call “free time?”
In my aged writing state, there’s a different sort of existence that happens nearly every day. It comes when the ocean of fatigue begins to swallow me, and I fight tooth and nail, to regain the surface. That one-more-thing is waiting, I know it, like an inflated raft marked “good book,” or a piece of driftwood known as “write something.” It would feel so good to just let the waters have me, yet I want just one more thing in my head, or out of it.
It’s at these times that, if I’m smart and lucky, I can write like a pro. There’s enough energy to hold real still and let my fingers do the talking, as my creative energy flows to the keyboard without the daily grind inhibitors or the analysis corruption that happen when I’m fully awake. That’s when flow occurs for me. It’s not good for my heart health, but perhaps it’s less harmful than cigarettes.