Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.–E.L. Doctorow
I have to say, those are the exact right words that explain the space I’m in right now. I’m in the exploration. There are lots of different ways that this book can go, and each decision heads it in a completely different direction.
In some ways it reminds me of this thing a friend and I used to do back in college. We’d get in the car with our sodas and a couple bags of chips or whatever. We’d make sure that the tank was full. And we’d just head out and zen drive our way through the afternoon.
Sure…we had a map. But the point wasn’t to know exactly where we were going. It was to experience the drive…to see the world…and to find new and unusual things that we were certain none of our peers would see of the state we’d made our adoptive home for the time being.
During one of those drives, I drove along what had once been a ridge runner’s road…those old roads that lead from the still to wherever and would be driven, at great risk, by folks wantin’ to run the moonshine out ahead of the tax folks.
That road had been paved…sorta…and ended at the end of the ridge road with someone’s house. He was a pretty nice guy and pointed us in the direction of yet another cool sight–a bar carved into the side of the mountain.
Anyhow, zen driving allowed us to let go of everything that was bothering us–school, guys, hangovers, jobs, what have you–and gave us the space to just be and enjoy the road…the air…the scenery and explore parts of ourselves as well as the state in which we lived. We did this with a sense of adventure…a sense of wonder…and a feeling of
walking driving Zazen…of attaining enlightenment.
At present, I feel as though I’ve lost that sense and am too wrapped up in the details. Even as I get more written, it feels like there’s something big missing within the writing…maybe within me. A hole where there’d once been that feeling I’d get when I was zen driving. I keep looking for the map. I keep trying to develop the map–an outline of what I want to happen…when, where, and why.
And as I do more and more of that, I feel like I’m losing something else for the sake of better story control.
Maybe it’s time to put the map down and just drive…