Sunday, May 30, 2010

Writing it out

I spent the weekend in Des Moines, Iowa. Contain your jealousy. I drove up Saturday morning and came back the next evening. It's about 4 hours away from Kansas City. I went up there to write.

I've had something knocking around in my heart for about a week now and I needed to write it out. I could feel it easing it's way up into my mind, asking for expression. I don't usually give myself the luxury of time away like this to write, in fact I never have, but this was a fairly heavy piece and it felt important to get it out.

I wanted to have several hours alone in the car because when I drive long distances I get into a kind of semi-hypnotic state and I start composing in my head, and then I pull over and write stuff down. I know it sounds odd, but it works for me.

I got a fair bit down on paper, but it still pretty rough. I need to let it sit for a while, then go back and fill in the holes and smooth it over.

I didn't do anything in Des Moines other than sit in my hotel and write, but on the way back I took a detour to see the covered bridges. The bridges of Madison County are a pleasure to visit, much more enjoyable than reading the book that made them famous (then again, so is a root canal).




There are about seven bridges spread out over the county and it takes a couple of hours to visit them all.





Since I was on my own, I approached another woman and asked if she would take a picture of me in front of one of the bridges. As she backed up several steps, trying to get the entire bridge and the sign and the river in the picture, I suggested that I didn't need all of that in the frame, but she was adamant. She snapped the picture, I thanked her and moved onto the next bridge. I approached another tourist, who oddly did the same thing, so I ended up with two pictures of a miniature me centered in front of a broad bridgescape. Finally, I just held the camera out in front of me and settled on an arms-length self portrait. So there you are.






The pleasure of visiting the bridges was enhanced by the drive itself, narrow country lanes that wound through pastureland, leading from one bridge to the next. As I drove over the twisting dirt roads that crested gentle hills and dipped down into wooded valleys, I felt my body relaxing to a level I hadn't felt in a long time, the stress of the last several months easing away.






I could have spent several days out there just driving around and getting lost on little dirt roads, but I missed my kids, who were tugging on the other end of my heart.

So how about you? Do you ever have a story or a memory growing inside of you and asking for expression? If so, how do you get it out of your head and onto paper?
 
 
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35 comments:

  1. It looks beautiful.

    And me? I either go outside with my camera and wander around, or lock the bathroom door and shower while getting things together in my head.

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  2. How wonderful that you took the time that you needed for YOURSELF! I know the time just for Kristin was much needed.
    Next time, Michigan. ; )

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  3. Wow. So that's Des Moines. I've never seen that Bridges movie. Maybe I should?

    No luxury like that. Writing happens in the short hours while both kids are asleep and housework can be put off.

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  4. I grab the nearest pen and paper and write. That's how my poetry comes out most of the time. If it's a story, I just start typing. Ideas creep in, I put down what comes and go back and look at them later.

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  5. WOW! K. I love the pics!

    I cannot wait to read that post.xoxoxo

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  6. I get up early 5-5.30 so that I have the house to myself. I write in the quiet as the sun rises. Then I get distracted by the sunrise or by the colour of the hills down the valley and I start to daydream. I think with my camera as well. I like silence for writing and music for making.

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  7. Great post! Lovely pics.

    Generally, I just force myself to sit down and write and then it flows.

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  8. dream when I can sleep. and surf the web when I can't sleep like now.
    I have a cooking blog. check my profile.
    I thanks for the inspiration.

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  9. ...and then you wrote it out about writing it out, and it was really great work. lovely to read.

    followed the trail from RRASAHM so...ahh...hi :)

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  10. love it!

    i also find i am inspired to write when travelling....cars, trains, planes, walking!

    these days, however, its more likely to be while washing the dishes rather than a road trip...

    Gill x

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  11. Kristin - I have the same inner mechanism - I start driving and about 10 minutes into a trip, words are spilling all over the place...:)

    May your road be paved with the kindness of strangers, the lovely randomness of life and the richness of the universe. And may you find enough paper to write it on when you need it the most.

    Cheers Kristin!
    M.

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  12. @ Watershedd, sitting down and writing with pen and paper, how novel. I'll have to try that some time!

    @ Park Life, I'm the same way, any kind of travel unlooses my muse. Something about movement, I think. I keep journals everywhere, in my car, purse, by my bed, etc.

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  13. I have been trying to avoid writing...trying to stuff those words back in, even though my right hand get twitchy, physically pulsing, and I crave a piece of paper, longing to scratch a pen across it's blank surface. I am afraid that once I start writing, I may not be able to stop...and I don't have time for that yet...and I'm not sure what I will write about yet...the ideas haven't shaped themselves into words yet...yet....
    Your pictures are gorgeous! You look great! It looks like a beautiful and soothing place! I am glad that you had a weekend away, and time to yourself, and a chance to write!

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  14. Nice process you've got there. I'm taking my bike out today, hoping to clear a few cobwebs. Then it'll be a few hours chained to my laptop, pounding out a new short story -- I hope.

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  15. I used to write a ton on planes and in airports. Of course, I used to travel a lot more. I do write in my head in the car a ton; to the point I keep an audio recorder in my purse because by the time I'd get to writing it down (it happens when I'm on my way to work and can't stop) I forgot most of what made it worthy of being put down.

    I need to write more.

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  16. @ IRL, I know that feeling. There are times when I just don't have the time or emotional reserves to write something out and I have to keep it in like that. All in good time...

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  17. Tammy in Lee's SummitMay 31, 2010 at 12:01 PM

    I miss being manic, when I could write for hours after midnight for months on end because I didn't need sleep. And, of course, I was genius. Or so I perceived. I miss those times. Now I'm just normal. Or, perhaps, "stable."

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  18. I love Iowa! I think it is truly beautiful. Especially in summer. I have never seen such vibrant green in my life, so much GREEN, than in Iowa. Anyways! I write down all these fragments and ideas whenever I can because I find I forget things so easily. When I want to do some real writing, I am usually in bed.

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  19. Great bridges tour--so elsewhere, it really is summer. And what a fantastic way to write!

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  20. I live only seconds away from one of those covered bridges. We're in Cedarburg, WI, and I have taken many beautiful family photos there.
    Very nice idea.

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  21. I am very envious and also inspired by your ability to get away to write! I have been writing a memoir (about our daughter's death and our conception journey over the first 6 years of our married life) and it's 3 years and counting so far... I write it in grabs. Big sections of it have been written when I literally feel like whole chapters are downloading into my thoughts as I wake, so I race down to my computer and start typing madly. Much of it has been written in the middle of the night or at dawn but always at home. I would dearly love to plan to get away like yourself, but expect that if I did that, I'd end up with the biggest case of writer's block! So I haven't dared organise it.

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  22. That's one of the most difficult things for me to do. I struggle with it unless the muse is perfectly set to inspire as I sit and write. So often what's in my head gets stuck there. It's rare that what I write matches...

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  23. What an excellent journey. Will you be sharing what you wrote?
    Quiet time is necessary for getting thoughts onto paper.

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  24. i am totally jealous! what a treat, to retreat to write. sometimes building up a time to write backfires on me becuz i put pressure on myself that this time is going to be set aside for writing. my nomad loves to write, and loves motel rooms, especially late at night when no one is up, or early in the morning. driving before writing sometimes metabolizes what i want to say. pretty pix in here. what a fabulous time for yourself. thanks for sharing this:)

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  25. I am not sure that Des Moines is on Cate's list of places she just has to visit - but I will check.

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  26. found you through pampers and pinot - nice to *meet* a fellow writer!

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  27. that's some gorgeous scenery. wonderful that you were able to take the time, and use it to compose.

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  28. lol, I don't think many people will jump out of chairs with jealousy about Iowa, but there really is some beautiful country over there...

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  29. Beautiful scenery! How nice to be able to get away and clear your head to write! I try to go for a run. Following you from Blog Flow.

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  30. I'm a new follower from the Blog Flow. I died laughing at your About Me page...if you'd be a breast you'd be a size C. I think I have to come up with some "If I was..." for my own.

    My best friend and her husband were in Iowa for four years (he was getting his Ph.D) and she spent the first two years hating it, and then two years feeling okay about it, and now that she's in San Diego she totally missed it. Funny how shit like that always happens.

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  31. Remember Funny Farm with Chevy Chase? Those bridges look awfully familiar! Interesting blog, I love it! Jilly :)
    www.brycenbaby.blogspot.com

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  32. stumbling on over from BlogFlow. Love the pictures! Incredibly jealous of the time to write!

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  33. I don't know if I'd have to drive four hours to a hotel room when an hour away would do! LOL! But it was worth it to see those bridges!

    I find when I can't sleep at night I often think about my writing and I brainstorm.

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  34. A writing trip sounds so lovely!! I can't drive much anymore, but I did use to love long, solo drives for thinking :)

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  35. Now I am just going to have to come over there and visit, I want to see the bridges too.

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