This week’s photo challenge, ‘On the Move’, has made me think of all the time I’ve spent (years, probably, if I added it up) staring through the windows of buses and trains. The photo of my son, taken several years ago while we were on holiday in Devon when he was about eight years old, could just as easily be a photo of me. He’s staring beyond the rain, the hills, the sky, and inhabiting his own world. The unknown place he’s deeply inside is often where I need to be to start writing, or, if not to start, then the place where I’ll discover a missing word or the right line to end a poem. And some of my best writing has taken place in my head while I’ve been glassy-eyed, on the move, between places. I tend to travel by car these days, and although it’s possible to fit in some thinking time when I’m behind the wheel, my mind moves more freely and creatively when someone else is driving. Even if I’ve packed work or reading material for a train journey, my gaze is soon lured away by the streets, fields, hills, sky, rolling past. The world becomes a blur of brown, green, blue, white – classic daydreaming time. There’s something about gazing out of windows while on the move which especially nourishes my creativity. Even though I’m not consciously taking in the details of the scenery, the sense of movement is stimulating and calming – and often rewarding. This photo is a reminder of how much I love those times.
In other ways, the photo sums up how I’m feeling right now. I’m on the move and between places in that I’ve had an offer from a small press to publish my first pamphlet of poems – something I’ve been working towards for the last four years – and I’m waiting for feedback after submitting a rough draft of my manuscript. I’m travelling towards publication but there’s always that tension – perhaps this is what makes journeying more stimulating – that I might not arrive. Perhaps tall-lighthouse made a mistake, perhaps they’ll change their minds, perhaps the train will come off the tracks….but then back to the daydreaming and out of another window, there’s fresh scenery to feast my eyes on, new people arriving in the carriage, new ideas for poems, for different writing projects, for another collection…. it’s exciting and frightening at the same time.