I'm heading out of town today. In a little while I'll be packed and in Jeff, heading down 85 to Atlanta. I'll pick up a couple friends and from there drive on to Bloomington, IN for a weekend road trip. We're going to see one of our favorite bands, Murder By Death. (You know they're a favorite if we're driving 800 miles one-way to see 'em).
I love road trips, I always have. Seeing new places excites me. Plus, I feel like a sponge right now, soaking up everything in sight to put back into my book. I love driving down the highway to the music blasting out of Jeff's speakers, pushing the gas pedal just a little too much. I love letting someone else drive, too, so I can sit in the passenger seat and stare out the window for a while at the passing scenery. Any passing scenery will do - everything interests me. I like to think about the people who might be living in the houses I'm passing. What the farm I see from a mile away on the highway might be harvesting this summer. I love watching woods and creeks and fenced-off land roll along just beyond my window, all the time using my imagination to put myself along the trails I see, kicking through the blanket of fallen leaves and listening to the hum of the highway just over my left shoulder.
Road trip adventures are a nice little reset on real life, as well. There's nothing like getting out of town for a couple of days to help you get perspective on your life. The Clark Kent job fades and becomes a whisper in the back of my mind (unless, of course, we pass a bowling alley). I focus on what's before me, the road, the adventure, and forget about the stress and frustration of everyday life. It's refreshing.
I lived in Indiana for four years, and though it's a helluva drive to deal with in just one weekend, visiting is also always fun. It's a different environment from the South entirely - Hoosiers are so strange to my South Carolina born-and-bred brain. I mean... I mean, these are people who work when it snows. Can you really trust someone who drives to work when it snows? It's a foreign concept to me (which had to be put on hold for those four years, but that's a different blog entry). Bloomington is a college town - it's where IU is - and it's a fun little burg, about an hour from Indianapolis.
I'm taking the laptop with me and hope to continue banging out words on the novel, at least for a little while, during the weekend. I'm thinking I'll use it to get me to sleep tonight and tomorrow instead of a book. That's the plan, anyway. I don't want to be away from it for three days; the story's too hot in my head. I need to get it down, and fast. I may even find out if I can spread out in Jeff's back seat while a friend drives, that's how urgent the need to write has become. Besides, I need to learn to write on the road, right? Sooner or later I might have to do a book tour. ;)
This particular trip to Indiana seems like a pilgrimage. I don't know if nearing the end of a long creative work elevates everything to a surreal significance in everyone else's mind, but it seems to be doing that in mine. Everything has a strange confluence at the moment that lurks just below the surface of reality. It's like the whole world has been covered with a thin skin of solidity and I can see through to the odd (but beautiful) workings beneath. I can almost hear the clockwork of reality ticking right now. It makes everything important to me. I'm counting dates, adding up numbers, attaching special significance to every synchronicity I run across. It makes me feel like a lunatic sometimes, but I don't worry about that. Artists are crazy; we've known that since time immemorial.
Speaking of time... as Alice's white-furred friend says, I'm late! I must go pack for my mini-adventure. I'll report back on Monday how the trip went for all of your records (I know you're keeping them). Have a great weekend, friends!