I’m writing this in the car, something which I’ve had much practice doing.
It started in university, where bus rides to and from classes were the norm. My head would be bowed whether I was standing or sitting, my thumbs tapping furiously into my smartphone as though I had a truly fabulous social life.
When I was braver, I’d claim a seat in the back and whip out my laptop. Tap, tap, tap, delete, tap, command + S. Inevitably, I’d be in class and someone would tap my shoulder and ask why I chronically procrastinate on papers until the very last minute.
The writing in the car thing didn’t come until nearly a year after graduation, after I started traveling and working in coffee shops and wondering why the days and nights bleed into each other.
You can say that I write in the car because
a) Occasionally, it’s the only time I get to write
b) Without Internet, what else is there to do?
c) Most epiphanies occur away from the desk
but it’s more than that.
I’m convinced that the passenger’s seat is made for inducing trance-like states. The rhythm of the road is inherently hypnotizing. Up, down, curve, bump. Stop, speed up, signal, and, in the winter, skid. The patterns repeat just like the tap, tap, tap of the keyboard and the ticking of your internal clock.
Then there’s the feeling that you’re going somewhere. Not just going somewhere physically, but with your novel, your short story, that poetry collection you’ve been drafting since forever. The clouds roll and the streets expand and people become multi-coloured blurs. The scenery changes every time you look up. You are weightless and can do anything.
You look to your right and see buildings as blank as fresh canvases.
To your left are trees that stretch to the sky.
The car is the shell that contains all the memories that fall out of your body. Rocked back and forth, front and back, everything you know to be true splatters onto the laptop screen: the relationship that slashed your heart, the serendipity of meeting a childhood friend in a mall in another country, the parent who had no right and the belief that you had all of it.
The rhythm of the road allows you to bypass all these knots and frayed ends. Anonymity suddenly becomes very powerful currency. If you need to silence the outside world, you can roll the windows up. If you need to silence your inner world, you can turn on the radio or close your eyes. The car is designed for transportation, but made for productivity.
Yellow lines, white lines, lines that cut off suddenly and lines that twist and turn.
Just like the story of your life.
Just like the story of your story.
There’s a home for every writer on the road.
I’ve built entire worlds in a car, and I’m going to build a few more.