Years ago, I knew a woman who had given birth to twins. She lived in Brooklyn, NY but to get her twins to nap, she would drive to Albany, NY for a special cream-filled donut. Then she would drive home. It took her six hours to travel back-and-forth but the twins slept and she needed the reprieve. And the donut was really tasty.
I do a lot of writing in my head but the trip to my office is too short to get anything accomplished. So one day I decided I would drive to the Jersey Shore. I had never been to the Jersey Shore and this was years before a woman named “Snooki” would capture the admiration of people around the world. I figured the trip would take about three hours round-trip and that would be enough time to outline the book I was working on.
Ah yes, that book. Such sleaze. I’m sure it would have been a bestseller because of the sleaze but I never finished it. Don’t be sad, reader. You didn’t miss anything except some heavy breathing, sadomasochistic games, shirt buttons being ripped off and that sort of crap.
So, back to my genius idea. I would drive to the Jersey Shore everyday and by the end of the month, I would have an outline and perhaps even a plot. A character or two would be a bonus. I was all set.
I went to MapQuest and got the driving directions. It wasn’t summer so I wasn’t going to the beach. In fact, the minute I hit the town on the map, I would make a u-turn and head back to my office. All in a day’s work, I figured.
As I drove down the Garden State Parkway, I had a great idea so I scribbled it down. Then another great idea. Then another great idea. My ideas were filling up the page — thank the Lord, I was in a creative flow.
I was so euphoric by this stupendous approach to writing that I went into the first rest stop to celebrate with a triple espresso. I looked at the notebook with the scribbles but most of the scribbles were un-related to my book like “Buy milk.” I was furious with myself but glad I remembered we also needed cereal and cream cheese.
Two weeks in and nothing had been accomplished but still, I had faith it would all come together. Do they give the Booker Prize to sleazy novels? Oh well. Surely something would emerge from all this to-ing and from-ing.
I torpedoed the project even before the trial month period was over. It had nothing to do with the book but rather the food. The woman with the twins had a donut to look forward to. The Jersey Shore is shuttered in the winter with only a convenience store open for construction workers. What can I say? Even when I take a bike ride, I like to know I’m going to end up someplace where I can get a nice salad.