Writing Stories in the Quiet

Ironically, as much as I talk about putting music to everything I write, this is actually not a post about writing with/to music. (Though that’s certainly an idea for the future…)

No, this is something that I was thinking of when I was at work the other day, and it struck me that I keep meaning to write more blog posts over here…and then never do. So here’s a post for today, as I sit here and wait for my mother to come back so we can go to the wine festival I’m in town for.

I notice this especially when I’m at work, but on long car drives I do it as well. Any time when I need to be doing something, but it doesn’t require all of my brain. (Yes, maybe driving should, but when it’s 3+ hours of highway driving, you go on auto-pilot, you know?) I put together a “what if” scenario, or a new place for be to be or to be going to. I joke about having directed a hundred musicals in my head before – but it’s really no joke. On the car rides from New York to North Carolina, I’d pick four or five musicals, set up a fictitious theatre company in my mind, and then run a full season…complete with interpersonal drama and romance. (Hey now, don’t judge.)

But it’s not just that either. It’s me wandering the streets of my city and meeting someone amazing who I never knew existed. It’s me returning to someone I’ve visited and finding a new fabulous place. It’s me setting up my retreat house and meeting the man of my dreams when he comes to stay there. It’s me introducing said man to my friends and family. It’s the next thirty years of my life – over and over and over again.

And in moments like that, when I’m thinking of all the places and people I could put into those daydreams, it’s that I remember that I’ve actually walked through the streets of Dublin. I’ve sat on the steps in Trafalgar Square and watched the birds. I’ve stood in the middle of Princes Street in Edinburgh and listened to bagpipes – I’ve sat in the Elephant Cafe and looked out at a castle that helped inspire Hogwarts.

I’ve been those places. I’ve been to Dublin and drank Guinness and celebrated Bloomsday. I’ve been to Edinburgh and climbed the Golden Mile and been inside Edinburgh Castle and looked out over the city. I’ve been to the West End in London and ridden the Underground to the last TARDIS left in the world.

That’s not daydream. That’s reality. The claddagh I wear is from Ireland. The soundtrack for Love Never Dies has the original cast – the one that I saw.

It’s hard to remember that sometimes. It all feels so surreal, that I was in this other place eating crepes and wondering what I was going to do with the rest of these Euros. That I broke in a pair of sneakers walking around the UK. That the memories of lying on a bed under a fluffy white down comforter looking out at the incredibly noisy birds through my open window is real – not something I imagined for a book.

I’ve used pieces of my trips to Europe for one of my novels – something that will prove exceptionally useful when I finally get back to working on that draft. I know what a botched international flight feels like. I know what it’s like to be on a train for the first time. I know how cold the North Sea is, and I know what the seagulls sound like in Ireland. (The answer? The North Sea is COLD and the seagulls are ANGRY.)

I’ll get to see Dublin again, and I certainly hope to see the rest – and more – in the future. But for now, it’s good to remember that sometimes, the wonderful memories and feelings…aren’t just in my head.

Some of them came from out in the world.


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