The truth is that the best ideas come when you're driving: not while you're shopping, not when you're taking a shower, and not even while making love to your partner.
They come as you drive alone and listen to the rolling of the tires hitting the asphalt. With eyes planted between heaven and earth.
And they come only in those moments; because you can't help but keep driving and stay focused.
You can't get distracted and wander: thoughts are precise, attentive, punctual.
They flake only the things they should without diluting with anything else and without losing flavour and impression. And the fact of not being able to write, not being able to fix those streams of creativity on paper forces you to carve those thoughts in your mind, or at least try to. And the longer the trip lasts, the more you are forced to hold on to those scenes, so as not to lose them until they become part of who you are.
You don't write because you can't. You don't create anything else because you can't. You don't forget because you can't: because if you did, you would delete ideas that are too good to just be stored in the back of the brain and never thought about again.
Yet when you drive, you drive towards a destination. And when you get to your destination, you will have to do things, see people, talk about something else. And there those streams of creativity, punctual, attentive, precise, become more feeble, distant. Some will become so weak that they will be lost. While some others will try to make their way like a soldier in the trenches digging further, further and further, to a safe spot. Until we are distracted from the attention of our business, of the people around us. We risk losing even those survivor ideas in those moments.
The few remaining intact, thus, must become the pillars of a scene, a story or an entire novel. We almost sanctified them.
Small, few ideas that change the nature of everything.
But it is not the stressed driving of the city, with its useless and continuous frustration, that gives us those ideas: driving through the countryside, that's the key.
Which makes you feel a little guilty because amid that innate beauty you see a strip of grey, but at the same time it frees you from your annoyances, from those long and dark thoughts. The country road fills them with the scenes of a life not lived or little-seen to be put in a novel, in a poem, in a series of letters.
The street thus becomes a lover who frees us from marital commitment. The sense of guilt will never be lacking, but at least we will have felt free for a little while.
It is in these moments that you only happen to think of one thing. But not a specific and universal thing: unique and individual, different for each writer, ever-changing, almost mystical. We, writers, are not able to exactly find the words to describe it, because as the words themselves are missing to express our non-freedom, there are no words to describe those sensations that arise from the belly to the brain and fix themselves or try to do everything to fix themselves deep inside our mind.
“Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?” J. Kerouac.
It is in the journey that we, writers, find ideas. Sometimes even half sleepy. In the journey, in driving, we find the meaning of our life.
"Animus debes mutare, non caelum" said Seneca, "You must change your soul, not sky",
to signal the importance of changing what you are even before where you are .
However, this cannot be true for a writer. Not at least when one writes.
Because writers need a different sky for every character they write about; for every life they create.
One needs the air to breathe, the earth to see; each character is something different, a different person, a mind on one's own.
Travel is necessary.
“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” J. Kerouac.
Therefore, the best ideas come while you are driving.
While you drive alone and listen to the rolling of the tires hitting the asphalt. With eyes planted between heaven and earth.
You travel and precise, attentive, punctual thoughts flow.
You travel and create.
Because you, writer, could not do otherwise.
You were born to write stories.
You were born to create lives.