Monday, July 21, 2014

Inspiration Monday: Dashboard Confessions

Sometimes, when the problems of the world get a little too large, I go for a drive.

When I am alone in my car, I am in my own little pod and whatever is going on with me and my day is isolated there. The other motorists on the road need only be concerned with my driving, and my person-hood is my own. For me personally, it is a time for prayer, deliberation, solitude, creativity, and wholeness.

Sometimes, when I have a client with whom it is difficult to build a relationship, I find a reason to drive them somewhere. I don't know if it is because of the inherent trust of riding in a car someone else is driving, maybe because my eyes are locked on the road and I'm not looking at them, or maybe just because it feels safe, but I find it tends to get people talking about what's on their mind. I jokingly call it "Dashboard Therapy." You won't find it in any psychology textbook, but it works.

A great deal of the miles on my car have been banked directly into the pages of my manuscripts. When I just can't seem to work out what I'm thinking or feeling about a writing project, I go for a drive. I put on some music that fits the mood, or sometimes I just leave the radio off. I drive around and look at things, trying to see them as a character would. I test out dialogue--there's no better way to do it than saying it out loud, (and no more embarrassing way either)--and search for unbidden inspiration.

My dashboard has absorbed so many of my prayers, thoughts, and confessions, it must be a holy relic by now. Who cares that it has cracked in the sun and needs a good wipe down. It has become an integral part of my creative life and of my desperate need for solitude. It may not be exactly poetic, but there's something to it.

Take a ride today. Whatever it is you're working on, whether it be part of your creative life or just hurdles you're jumping in the real world, and dump them in the passenger seat. Talk it out, sing it out, pray it out, whatever it is you need to do, but speak it out loud and saturate your vehicle in the fullness of your mind and heart. If you've got a character you just can't wrap your head around, picture him or her doing this exact exercise--what is it they think about when they're driving a lonely highway with no one to judge them and only the dashboard to listen?

There's no rule that says the same person who enters any room must be the same person when he or she leaves it. I figure the same must go for cars (and probably even trucks. Probably).


Luanne said...

That's true about driving. I have a long poem about driving that I had forgotten about. Thanks for the reminder ;) to pull it out and work on it.

Marisa said...

Thanks for reading, Luanne! I'm glad it inspired you to pull out your poem again. Best of luck to you!