Helga’s Post #105: It’s been a wild ride since my last post, “How we write about Love”. A 2,200 km drive (or 1,400 miles to our friends across the border) straight south from Vancouver, crossing one international and two state lines. Our 4-seat sedan was loaded to capacity due to my dear husband insisting on taking his high-end Bose audio system to California. It was packed in a huge box, making it nearly impossible to get a rear view of the traffic behind us.
Regardless, we made it, and in good time. Two overnights, one in Eugene, Oregon, the second in Sacramento. I kept thinking about Jack Kerouac’s novel On The Road and visualized ourselves as members of the Beat generation. (We are almost old enough for that).
The trip was not without inspiration to my writer’s spirit. I started to realize something that, though I had been kind of aware of it all along, confirmed it. So, here I was, with nothing to do but focus on the scenery flying by, that my writer’s mind was able to surface. As we whipped south on the I-5 my mind more and more uncluttered, I could let my imagination roam. It’s amazing what your mind is capable of in the absence of deadlines, commitments and the drudgery of everyday life.
So I started to spin some yarns. What if … Starting with the texts exchanged on the way with writer friend Paula. I received lots and lots of texts with good advice on which roads to take, where to stop, eat, take a pee, and some such. So I was thinking, wouldn’t that be a neat backdrop to a novel? A friend giving advice play-by-play from the distance, but what if … suddenly she doesn’t get any more replies from her friends on the road. None. Zero. What could have happened? The friends never showed. Last text from Stockton, or Lodi, and then nothing. The friend goes on a search that leads her to … Bangkok, or Jakarta, or the tawdry parts of Amsterdam.
Or take our second stopover in Sacramento. After checking in to a modest hotel we went out to an Italian restaurant, starved for food and some nice California red wine. Our server was a pleasant and attractive young woman. “Who doe she remind you of?” I asked my husband “Julia Roberts?”
Exactly. Kind of unique, but wait! As we looked across the dining room there she was, but how it could it be when she was just at our table a nano-second ago? She brought our drinks and I asked if her sister works here too. Yes, she does, my twin sister she said. The twins were immigrants from Romania.
Imagine the odds of meeting a woman who looks like a twin of Julia Roberts, and then seeing she does in fact have a twin who looks like her too.
So, a pleasant little interlude on our journey. Again, I started spinning my yarn. What if …
And so it went, the entire drive until we finally, after a horrific Friday night traffic jam through Pasadena, and losing tire pressure somewhere along the way, arrived in Palm Springs.
That night my writer’s mind left me alone. Too exhausted to think, let alone making connections to a possible plot for another novel.
But the next morning, waking up to the incomparable vistas of the Santa Rosa Mountains bathed in the early rays of the morning sun, I got inspired all over again. And that’s where my novel might play a major role. It will be an easy fix from the setting I had previously chosen. Maybe it’s a bit of Vancouver and a lot of Southern California. My plot can accommodate both venues. And then some.
But for now, I am soaking it all in, letting the magic of blue sky, balmy weather and endless palm tree lined roads do its work on my psyche, and commanding the muse to appear again.
It’s been too long.