Ahhhh, Spring. In the absence of any true winter, you’d think I’d be less anxious for birdsong, green grass, and the long-awaited flowering of the trees. But I found I was just as impatient as ever. One reason, I think, is that I write best while sitting in the driver’s seat of my car, windows down, the vehicle parked under an ancient maple, beech, or oak (I know the locations of most well-shaded parking lots within a five mile radius of my house), my laptop propped open against my steering wheel .
In the slide presentation that I take to schools, I include a photo that shows me in exactly this kind of setting, but “sans” laptop, as it was taken many years ago, when my daughter was an infant. Back then, I developed the habit of writing in my car after learning that I could get her to take an afternoon nap much more easily if we drove around for about ten minutes until she drifted off in her car seat.
What seemed like an inconvenience at the time turned out to be a habit I’d continue long after she grew up and went off to school. My car is still the place I prefer to write my first rough drafts of poems, biographies, novels, or non-fiction articles. It provides a distraction-free space where I can free myself from ordinary thinking habits and make as many mistakes as I need to before something on the page begins to look like it might actually be worth keeping. Ahhhh, Spring.