My brother Craig, in Harrisburg, PA., is the destination. A day trip there and back to touch base on some health issues with him and to drop off his copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul, finding my faith which housed my piece, “Journey’s Beginning”. The plan had been for Steve and me to both go, but a nasty cold for Steve sidelines that as we don’t want to tax Craig’s immune system.
As I head out, my thoughts stray to my NaNoWriMo novel for November. When I decided in September to participate this year, I had grand ideas that through October I’d develop my outline, create my characters and work on my plotline. And I did work on it. A little. Very little. I thought about working on it and did a lot of reading on characterization, story structure and plot development. There was a little mind mapping and a few notes jotted down and I bought my big white board and some snazzy 5 x 7 index cards in multiple colors….all really great distractions, but not much work.
So here I am, five days before November 1st, with a solitary 12 hours of driving ahead of me, with nothing to do but muse on my novel. I’ve made this trip alone before and know the lazy distraction of random songs playing, my thoughts skipping from one thing to another. So, I challenge myself to stay focused on nothing but my plot line and a few basic character sketches.
Travel by car has always held a special appeal. There’s a feeling of anonymity, escape maybe, that comes with each passing mile as it takes me further from my daily life. My mind wanders, following the muse with heightened senses that trigger characters, settings, conflicts and resolutions.
This drive, I set Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis by Robert Vaughan to repeat from my iPod through the stereo. 15 minutes and 1 second long, it plays softly in the background for 6 non-stop hours, providing a comfortable cadence for my thoughts to follow.
When I arrive home, I’ve delivered the book, enjoyed the gift of three hours with my brother and have a basic outline for my novel as well as a few mini plots to support it and four basic characters that I have a genuine interest in. All in all, a good day’s drive.