The Drive

I took familiar roads; the routes I once used to drive to Kings Mountain and Belmont, North Carolina. The drive averaged 30 to 45 minutes depending on which former textile town I was driving to. I turned on the radio and changed stations. In the age of iPods and iPads, I still have the unhealthy habit of changing radio stations.

Kenny Chesney, Guns ‘N Roses, Eric Church, Usher, Michael Jackson, Queen or almost any pop with a slight techno beat pump me up. I am the 26-year-old mom you see dancing like the white girl she is, because I still get nervous despite six years of experience interviewing people.

The time I spend in my car is when words don’t have to make sense. I don’t have to know them. I just need to shake out nervous energy.

On Wednesday morning—my third road trip for freelance work this week—my son woke up with vomit in his bed. My husband said he would stay home for the morning, and I’d return after my two scheduled interviews to go to the doctor with Charles. I turned the radio on loud.

Perfect music for a 16-year-old girl going through her first break up; an 18-year-old who realizes a one night stand is a one night stand; or a guy who is trying to change his ways played all over the radio Wednesday morning. I could not find anything with a beat. I looked up at the indigo blue and gray filled sky and wondered What was going on with the radio stations today? If I thought too much into those songs, I would go buy some whiskey, pour a shot, and throw the empty glass at a Justin Bieber poster.

A drive helps clear my head whether I’m taking Charles to the park, or on my way to cover something. Cars drive by me. I wonder what is going on in their lives. Possible characters emerge, or I become a rock star in my semi private area.

Where do you go to clear your head? What do you do to calm your nerves before or after writing?


6 thoughts on “The Drive

  1. I grew up where it rains all the time. The rain calms me and makes me feel at home. So every time it rains here, which is rarely, I open the windows to welcome it! When I was growing up, we had this big backyard with a trampoline. On sunny days I used to relax by sitting on the trampoline and staring wistfully into the distance. Here’s a picture of the view from the backyard, then the frontyard:

    Pretty much, anything that gets me outside and with nature helps. And on days I can’t do that? I just sit and watch/listen to one of these videos on youtube:

    They have videos of rain in trees, ocean waves, forested creeks, or just wind through the hills. There are also, by other people, videos of oceans and such that go on for anywhere from an hour to two hours, and sometimes longer. I like to listen to those while I write, because sometimes music can be too distracting. It also helps me keep track of how long I’ve been writing, they can make good timers.

    Great post! It’s always good to remind yourself to take time and relax. Even if it’s enjoying the simple things. 🙂

    1. Sounds of the beach always calm me. I grew up not far from the beach or the mountains. I had my choice of the Blue Ridge Mountains or the beach. I remember sitting next to the ocean at sunset, and for the first time in my life I had realized how much I enjoy time by myself. I don’t have much time to myself anymore, but it has helped me appreciate what I do in my spare time such as read books, when I have a moment to drive by myself, or just listen to birds chirp without any screaming in the background.
      Beautiful backyard! I can see why you were able to relax. I’m sure your imagination roamed.
      As for rain, I have experienced hot muggy rain in summer when the drops are the size of a butterfly. As a teenager, I used to ride my bike. One time in college my ex-husband and I road bikes along the coast to an old fort built by the U.S. Army for the Spanish-American War. It was never used, but it looked more mystic in the rain.
      As always Aly, thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  2. I’m totally with you on this one…
    I LOVE driving!!!! Especially in the summer,
    with the top down, wind in my hair…..

    But, for me, the place I go to clear my head
    is the beach, but it has to be on my own
    so that I can actually think 😉


    1. Don’t you love almost abandoned beaches. A friend and I drove one time outside of a populated place in Florida during spring break in college. There were stretches of empty beach, and it was so beautiful! Thanks, Vikki for your comment!

  3. Yes, yes, yes. Driving is it for me. It calms me down and makes me forget. They say writers think of ideas when they’re not trying to — in the shower, for instance. So driving is the equivalent for me because I’m so comfortable doing it, I don’t have to tell my foot to press in the clutch and shift into third. It just happens.

    1. I think of ideas when I am cooking. Of course, it is the worse time because I’m trying to finish so I can put food on the table. It does just happen. Thank you for your comment! 🙂

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