Meditations on the train
Thursday, 11 September 2014
I love train travel. It is a kind of meditation, gazing out of the window, letting my mind drift. I often get good writing ideas on trains. I have wondered for a while why this is.
Research on creativity shows that sitting alone waiting for inspiration isn’t the best route to inspiration and new ideas. The mind needs a bit of help and one stimulus can be repetitive, unchallenging tasks. Jobs needing complete attention block out creativity, and complete inaction can too. So perhaps that’s why gazing out of a train window gets the creative juices flowing. I’m often struck with a new angle on a plot or an idea for a new character – or some thoughts worthy of a blog.
Trains, of course, also provide opportunities for eavesdropping – that writers gold mine. There is even a chance for conversation. But this isn’t Victorian England or Nepal so this is rare.
I sparked off a conversation with to a fellow passenger on a train journey between Euston and Crew by greeting the woman who sat beside me. She was a good bit older than me and reminisced about how much friendlier train travel used to be. Perhaps we are losing the art of conversation. She hadn’t. She engaged me for the whole of her part of the journey we spent together. I learned about what it is like living with autism and she informed me of the seminal book ‘Empty Fortress’. She gave me so much to think about. Perhaps more of us should greet each other on train trips. Or maybe that would get in the way of that creative state of pseudo-meditation.
Posted: 11/09/2014 17:59:40
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