Driving Around With A Car Full Of Books

child with piles of books forest

When life’s messy, inspiration abounds but getting it all down on paper can be challenging.*
By Elizabeth Cutright

I’ve moved twice in the last two years, and both were chaotic, speed-of-light sort of events. Decisions were made compulsively, impulsively and powered by a need to “get it all sorted” before the momentum flung me aside like a kid who loses his grip on the merry-go-round.

Those of you who regularly read The Daily Creative Writer have no doubt noticed my writing has not been so “daily” as of late. I tend to get thrown off course when “real life” steps up its demand. Experts count moving as one of life’s most stress-inducing events, second only to death and divorce I believe (I could look that up, but I’m just going to take it on faith for now). As such, at the start of the year, I decided to give myself a break and not linger too long on whether or not I’m able to meet my posting expectations.

Whenever I find myself adrift in one of these “stress storms,” ,my days seem to collapse upon each other. Life shifts into deep focus and every element, every action, every outcome is spread out before me, crystal clear and layered like some lunatic’s gauntlet. I haven’t had time for distractions.

In the past, any waking hours not already consumed by the 9-5 shuffle were dominated by unpacked boxes, un-hung curtains, and the many (many) hoops you jump through in order to get the cable guy to get your high-def HBO working just right (I may have to forgo some happy hours and fancy cheese thanks to my pricey new pad, but I will not give up my Game of Thrones).

Even though I’m now happily ensconced in my new digs, I find that the challenges just keeping cantering around the corner, one after the other.

Needless to say…I haven’t had the time to write.

Which is unfortunate, because even as I wade through my unshelved books stranded in random corners of the apartment, and hopscotch over discarded clothes to find my makeup every morning, a mountain of creative ideas has been building up in the background, untidy and unattended, but not ignored.

Driving the U-Haul, I’ll think upon a friend’s recent travails with her ailing father-in-law, and I’ll think, “there’s a story there.” I’ll catch a glimpse of a (new) neighbor’s red chair leaning against a white stucco wall, precariously perched under a turquoise trimmed window housing a curious cat, and I’ll ponder the (unwritten) poem that image invokes.

I reminisce about the old house after catching a glimpse of a doorway in a group photo or accidentally driving towards my former neighborhood on the way home. With the memories comes the realization that the characters that came and went over the years can someday live again on the page — as protagonists or villains, love interests or sidekicks, victims or victors.

Everyone has a part to play: The crazy girl who stole her roommate’s Master’s thesis and passed it off as her own; the random guy who always wore a neck brace; the infamous “Stompy-McPhee” who used to smoke cigarettes on the back porch clad only in a bra, a ratty robe and a beat-up pair of combat boots; the recovering addict who liked to explore crawl spaces and roofs in search of possible “infrastructure issues.”

For the moment, I’m still trying to reorganize my space and my life – cramming 9-years worth of living into a small apartment is no easy feat! Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to the time when the days take on their regular rhythm. When I can get back to my morning pages, start planning some Artists Dates, and once again embody the goals and ambitions of The Daily Creative Writer.

In the meantime, I’ll be driving around with a trunk full of books that I just can’t bring myself to get rid of, but no longer have a place at my hearth…

It’s a long, delicate process…. the art of letting go.

4 thoughts on “Driving Around With A Car Full Of Books

  1. I can relate to the stress storms disrupting my writing it can be frustrating but I also have to just let go and let myself center. And I totally just saved the pic of the girl surrounded by books, I’m a complete book nerd and understand not wanting to let go even if there is “no room” as there’s always room for books in one’s heart, but shelf space is a scarce resource. Congrats on your new pad!

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