While driving across country, I completely forgot about this blog.

imagesI wrote Monday’s post last Thursday, so I’ve gone a week without thinking about this blog. Err…so…I am spending the summer in Berkeley. And I decided to drive there. I’m surprised no one has questioned this decision: it was obviously extremely cost-ineffective. Flying would’ve been substantially cheaper. And you don’t really need a car to live in Berkeley.

The truth is, I just really like to drive. And I like driving across the country the best. This is my fourth time going between SF and DC. I’ve now done (/slash am doing) it by all four major routes: I-10/I-20, I-40, I-90, and (now) I-80. I guess there’s also I-70, but whatever.

When I drive across country, I don’t really _do_ anything. Sometimes I stop and visit a friend, but I actually don’t have very many friends who live between the coasts. And when I’m on the highway, I get way too zoned-in to want to stop and drive.

I do my best thinking while driving. I can never go on a trip of longer than 500 miles without having some kind of epiphanic moment. However, my last two cross-country trips were marred by these horrible headaches that I developed halfway through, which turned the rest of the trip into an endurance test. This time, I’ve been wearing my contacts and a pair of sunglasses (one of my recent epiphanic moments was realizing that sunglasses actually have a purpose outside merely looking cool), and the headache has remained at bay.

Some solid thinking has been done and is being done. Also, some useful thinking. I just got back some notes on This Beautiful Fever from my agents (really, really good notes) and I’ve been slowly plotting out the changes I’m going to make. I think the major thing writing-related insight I’ve had this year is that at some point you need to rigorously interrogate your own text and ask all the questions that you avoided while writing it: What does this character want? Why does this event happen? How did this custom arise? Why don’t they use this technology to solve that problem?

It’s difficult and annoying work, but the result opens up startling new possibilities.

Err, well…at least I hope it does.