A couple of posts ago, I mentioned all the distractions in my usual place for writing. I decided that instead of fighting them, I would see if they led to anything. At least I would delve further into the characters in the soap opera on the TV.
Today the TV was extra loud because the ACC Playoffs were on. For Sportsball fans, that’s basketball, and the only reason I knew what was going on was because a game was being played a couple of hours away from me. The game came complete with chanting cheerleaders, shrill whistles and sneakers squeaking against polished wood. In the kitchen, there was a contemporary rock station playing a “great mix of yesterday’s and today’s hits”. Under the basketball squeaking, tweeting, cheering and commentating, the music sounded like drums and humming. Here’s where my mind traveled amid all of the stimuli.
I started out by thinking of the outline for my novel. The protagonist was about to escape a school formal with the love of her young life, to the chagrin of her date. They will rocket off into the night on a borrowed motorcycle and soon find themselves in unexpected danger. It is an echo of the trouble that originally brought them together.
“Virginia shot 63% from the field.” In another field, one made of pixels, I recently watched my son control a knight astride his warhorse. Enemies charged toward him, lances lowered. An arrow thunked into his shield. “Wow! That startled me!” He was all smiles and determination. Even virtual arrows can be scary when you’re not expecting them.
“I can feel it coming in the air tonight. Oh, Lord.” Man, Phil Collins used to rock. The first time I heard that song, my dad was younger than I am now. Thinking of my dad made me remember a special first day of fishing season with him. I plan to write about that in a later blog entry. It will appear here a little bit closer to its anniversary in early April.
“That’s his first foul.” Foul reminds me of baseball, and that makes me remember that I need to grab the wiffle ball bat from the closest and put it in my car. The balls are still rolling around in the trunk, never deposited inside after fall grew cold. It became a 15 or 20 minute daily routine after picking up my son from school. He developed a pretty good swing last year, despite my poor pitching. He mentioned it a few days ago when it was unseasonably warm. Unfortunately it’s still pretty soggy on our usual playing field, but it’s quickly warming up and drying out.
“Push it! Push it real good!” My son looked at me and my wife with disbelief and not a little pity. We were playing some popular music from our high school days. I had been singing this one while he and I pushed our trash and recycling containers out to the street for pick-up. Once inside, we played the song and danced around, while he stared open-mouthed at the horror before him. I wondered if I looked at my parents the same way when they did the twist in my childhood living room.
“…and 8 assists!” I was talking with a co-worker who was looking into assisted living for his parents. We discussed how difficult it must be to transition into old age, leaving unspoken that our days would come. I told him a story I heard from a friend a long time ago. One of his neighbors, faced with the fact that his kids intended to place him in a “home”, rowed himself out to the middle of a secluded lake and blew his boat (and person) to bits with dynamite. My co-worker opined that he hoped he had the presence of mind to go out on his own terms when his time came. I personally like to think I will have my mind downloaded into a robot by then.
I think my novel’s protagonists will seek out a romantic lakeside locale for their escape from the prom: moonlight on the water, crickets chirping and no TV. Absolutely no dynamite. Sometimes something productive does come out of the distractions after all.