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Friday, November 13, 2009


(Happy Birthday, CCT!)

Recently, I excused myself from the computer to pick up my daughter from school while mentally lingering at the Windsor chair in front of the keyboard. Backing out of the driveway, I drove down the street, turned right and stopped at a red light. Advancing on green I continued, over the ridge, past yellow “school zone” signs and the gentle rise leading up to the long brick high school--where apparently, my daughter stood, her mouth forming a wide O, as I zipped by.

By the time I arrived at a stop sign about a half mile down the road, I grasped that I had sailed past the school without noticing, and turned myself around. Crossing my fingers that my daughter hadn’t seen me, one look at a teenage smirk accompanied by her wrinkled brow clued me in that I was bagged. “Mom,” she said, “you didn’t just drive by, you sped by!” We howled until tears flowed at what she called my “senior moment,” but what I know was something else.

That was bad, but today was almost worse. My walking buddy and I finished our jaunt, after which we planned to meet up for coffee. She took the lead in her car, and I bumped along behind in my jeep, past granite walls and blond grass waving in unmowed fields, over a causeway ribboning through high tide marshes, until she disappeared. Though, of course, she didn’t. I had once again drifted away from my car while contemplating a piece I am struggling to write and failed to observe that she had moved far ahead.

This unnerved me. My rational mind knew she had accelerated out of sight, yet because I had stepped away from consciousness, if you will; when I came to, it was as if she had vaporized--a rabbit lost in a magician’s hat. After an anxious moment in which I contemplated whether she had driven into the marsh, I caught up to her. When I owned up to my lapse in concentration, she asked “Didn’t you see the two trucks that cut between us before the construction zone?” “Hmm…Let me think. Trucks?”

Since I began spending a significant portion of my day writing, these mental hiccups are on the increase. In the shower the other day, when the words ricocheted like the spray against fiberglass walls, and I conditioned my hair before washing, I wondered if all writers travel without going anywhere.

Do people who are, say, a tad more rational, accountants and lawyers, doctors and the like, stay rooted in cement blocks of the here and now while writers climb into cerebral hot air balloons to rise on capricious winds of imagination?

Is this just me, or do all writers drive by their daughters while immersed in words and phrases? Do the especially good ones crash their cars along the way? Don't get me wrong. I love being engaged in this regard, but it has me wondering if additional auto insurance may be necessary.

Um, you will be kind and let me know if instead, I need to investigate Alzheimer’s units, right?

Are you able to disconnect your writing brain and return to bricks and mortar reality, or do you sometimes float, like me?


glnroz said...

We all do it,, do what,, where am I ? who are you? lol

Tabitha Bird said...

I float. Oh Liza, do I ever float. ALL. THE.TIME. :) I happen to think it is one of the nicest things about writing and having an imagination. I can be anywhere and yet not be anywhere. Or be no where and yet be somewhere. :)

Have a great weekend.

Sharon said...

Beautifully written. Drifting in and out of "now" and "then" and "what if" are signs of a very creative mind. Oh, and let me know when you'll be out on the road again.

Helen Ginger said...

No, you don't need an Alzheimer's unit, but you might want to tune in a bit more, especially when you're driving. Maybe you could get a tape recorder and make writing or plot notes as you drive. Perhaps the talking would keep you out of your own head until you get where you're going.

Straight From Hel

Anonymous said...

I've lost a good few miles of highway before. But then, I drive a lot. I listen to educational CDs, too, and if I'm not sufficiently caffeinated, my mind bounces off on writing-related tangents every three minutes or so, and I have to skip back on the CD because I realize I have no idea what just happened.

So it's not just you.

Liza said...

Whew! It appears that it's not just me; actually that is even more scary. Are we all driving around like this??? Glen, you get it, I can tell. Tab, I know you are there, I can feel it. It is a blessing, as long as we remain safe. Sharon, I'll try to give you a head's up, or make myself concentrate more when I'm on the road. Helen, you are right. This was why I wrote this. I'm scared at how far I drift away...although truth be told I love when my mind goes searching. I'd rather live to tell the tale. Simon, I can't do books on tape because I flit too far away. I have to "read," because it keeps me engaged, though my husband lives by books on tape and I am so grateful. He's got a nasty commute. Here's the thing. I may be vague while driving, but I NEVER pick up a cell phone! I pull over when it rings! :)

Paula Villanova said...

Hmm...sounds like a severe case of creative mind to me...I know a thing or two about this condition...

Diana Paz said...

No, definitely not just you! I float EVERYWHERE! Highway exits are not my friend lol!

Suzette Saxton said...

I'm a floater, just like you.

Your blog is GORGEOUS!