Rarely do I feel as inspired in my life as when I’m just starting out on a car trip (of almost any length), looking forward to where I’m going, with music blasting. Life is just good under those conditions, but there’s more to it than that. Like taking a shower or playing certain kinds of puzzle games (e.g. Tetris), the process of embarking under these circumstances precipitates an extra uncanny layer of inspiration. My mind works in a slightly different way, one that’s quite simply much better than everyday functionality.
I have known this for most of my driving life, especially since I got a car (post the ’51 Buick era) that could play music. I remember driving out in the Kia the first few times, blasting Counting Crows, realizing that not only could I conquer the world but I had the thoughts in mind right then that would do it. I don’t recall exactly how many of the novel ideas I’ve developed were composed at the outset of music-blasting trips, but I can tell you exactly how many short stories I wrote tonight were.
One. And it might just be the best story I’ve ever written, a 3,200 word gem called “Haywire” that I could not feel more euphoric about. I came up with the idea on the outset of my journey to New Brunswick tonight for debate, letting the concept play in my mind for about two and a half songs before I let myself believe I was really on to something. Then it was time to grab the flowpad at stoplights and jot down as much as I could, just in case the idea simulated some inspirations I’ve developed in dreams and fled as soon as I had a grasp on the real thrust of its direction. But I needn’t have worried and I needn’t have written. Until I got home, of course.
Which I did, promptly, spending the 2.5 hours since arriving crafting the thing. And then I started celebrating, as much as I could pump my fists in the air and jump up and down without waking Emily. No, seriously. I really did this. I feel that euphoric right now.
It’s not just about the quality of this story, which may be inflated in my perception – I will have to read it tomorrow to really know for sure. It’s about being able to come up with a story I feel this confident about, start to finish, in six hours, three of which I spent at debate. That the stories are supplying the fiction to breathe life into my months designated for writing non-fiction, just as I hoped they would. There’s a part of me, sure, that looks at all this euphoria with an eye to the past and considers that this might be the last short story I write for months. That this might all be a lot of sound and no fury. That this is an exception, an anomaly.
But God, I hope not.
I once joked with Emily, noting the phenomenon of how this inspiration struck, that I should just go for short drives with music every time I wanted to get jump-started on writing something. But I surmised, shortly thereafter, that this somehow wouldn’t work. That it might be cheating. That I couldn’t trick my brain into getting in the state where the world slows down and opens itself up to a new idea.
But at this point, I’m ready to try. Bring on the showers and the Tetris and the driving with music. Bring on the life that I am living. Everything I’ve done has gotten me to this point and it’s all been worth it. Thank you, thank you God for letting me get to this point right here right now.
Gee, I really hope this story is up to all this swagger.