“Time Travel”: A Writer’s Guide to Rambling

Timelines have become (a la Facebook) very popular I notice. And it is no surprise that one of the most popular uses is the tracking of where (as well as when) we’ve been. For Tuesday’s Fiction Reboot, I’ll be taking a look at travel writing and “time travel”–not in the science fiction sense exactly, but in the sense that almost all of our writing is reflective, a way of reaching backward as well as groping forward in the strange twilight of literary creation. Today’s discussion: What to pack? And don’t forget to check the end of the blog post for ANNOUNCEMENTS!

The Writer’s Guide to Rambling

#1: What to Pack?

Unless, cruise style, you are going someplace where you unpack belongings once and repack only before you get on the plane, some size restrictions are probably in order. Many of my travels require living out of the suitcase night to night, so I have to think about what goes in and what stays at home.

Utensils. And I don’t mean forks. Every writer is different, but I usually need a computer (mine is a small netbook) and at least one moleskin journal with durable pen and pencil. I sketch as well as write in those, so unlined is best–and they pack very flat.

Walking shoes. You can’t write if you can’t ramble.

Clothes. People stare if you go around naked.

Books. This is where the choosing gets difficult…but one must read to write (or I must, anyway). I have not yet broken down and purchased a Kindle, but I see real potential here. At present, I just opt for books over clothes, much like Desiderius Erasmus: “When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes. And now for the really hard part..

Characters: Yes. I really mean that. Which of your multitudinous, omnipresent, loud and rowdy gaggle of constantly niggling characters do you bring with you on your trek? Personally, I find my villains always come along. It’s their innate inferiority/superiority complexes and obsessive desire for control. They just can’t let you go off an have fun all by yourself. Jaydeun of Witchwood is particularly bothersome in this respect… But to be honest, sometimes you need a selfish, sarcastic ex-dictator who quips entirely in Shakespearean insults. I managed to employ a brilliant harangue in a bad restaurant once, due largely to his bitter whisperings. I find that my teenage un-vampire, Jacob, also turns up. He talks a blue-streak, but he’s a jovial sort. Nice on those long train rides. And of course, the unsinkable Sarah helps buoy the spirits with optimistic chatter about recipes and how to save the planet (all in a heavy Scottish brogue).  Now, add to that a brooding heroine that looks a great deal like me at age 16, a talking mirror and his best mate, a smattering of intelligent animals, and one nefarious hematologist… It’s a bit of a traveling circus, really.

But then, that is the fun of it. We travel best in company (real or imaginary). We need those best-souls to share our experience, and so, become part of our past–as well as our present–company.

Now, with your pack partly empty and your head over-full–
with your bytes and bits, your writer’s tools–
Your beat-up walkers and your best frock-coat;
Your faded scarf, your canvas tote;
Your nearest thoughts–your far abode;
My dear, you’re ready to hit the road.

Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s “Time Travel.” We’ll talk a bit about the watery boundaries between ongoing experience and past remembrance…and the way all of this works into the fabric of reflection, journaling, fiction.

Tweeted by Lucienne Diver: D. B. Jackson is doing a great blog & giveaway for his upcoming release THIEFTAKER

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