Ernest Hemingway once wrote in a letter to a friend, “writing and travel broaden your ass if not your mind and I like to write standing up.” Writing is closely connected with movement. In fact, it is its own sense of movement. Words move across the page, taking us from point A to point B, and somewhere in-between we experience changes in emotion, scenery, action.
We have all experienced at some point (whether on film or in person) an argument between two people (usually married), which results in one person shouting, “I’m going for a drive!” or “I’m gonna take a walk!” At first, you think, this person is running away, but once you have tried it for yourself, you understand. Walking and driving are both almost instinctual actions in that they require little attention on our parts. When you are driving or walking around (even if you have a destination in mind), you hardly have to think about what it is you’re doing, but I’m not condoning texting while driving. These activities take us into this meditative state where we can tap into deep, reflective thought. In a reading and interview at the 2013 Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference, Terrance Hayes said that he finds, “the place between homes to be the most reflective of who [he is],” and driving as a “sense of movement and a sense of destination that is reflective of the Road,” which, “is an extension of higher hearing.”
With this idea of higher hearing in mind, I will leave you with a writing exercise. Pick a destination you know how to get to and drive. Jump in the car, throw on some tunes (if you want), and open your ears. When you get to wherever you’re going, give yourself time to reflect on your drive, and write down all the thoughts you can remember. Then drive back and repeat the process. May the Road be with you always.