> PHL > PHF > PHL > BOS for a friend’s wedding and then BOS > PHF > LAG for Christmas/New Year’s. (Let’s not forget the long T rides back and forth to Logan or all of the subway travel between my NY friends’ apartments.) Still, I made sure my time wasn’t wasted. I always had a book or two in my purse to keep me company.
Packing novels in my bag is an ingrained habit. Ever since I was little, I’ve loved to read on the move. Plane, train, or automobile, it didn’t matter. If I had to get from point A to point B, chances are I’d have my nose stuck in a book. (I also developed a talent for reading while walking, Belle-style.)
Each mode of transportation provides its own unique reading experience. Trains lend a certain civility to novels, recalling an earlier time as the countryside rolls by. Planes bring on a trance-like state through the meditative humming of jet engines. Cars and buses make me a little queasy, but I try to not let that stop me. Subways, the newest addition to the list, allow for quiet companionship with the other readers in the car. I enjoy them all in their time, soaking up the uninterrupted stretches that are just for words and stories.
My writing also flourishes when I’m in motion. Ideas come easily, in a steady stream. I’m unblocked in the air, over land. Whatever I’m thinking about just clicks. (Case in point: Hastily scribbled notes concerning new blog posts covered the back of my plane ticket by the time I landed at LaGuardia. I spent the first half of this journey transcribing them.)
I can’t quite figure out why so much creative energy is captured between destinations. Maybe the motion stimulates the brain. Maybe it’s a matter of applying focused, undivided attention. Perhaps it’s because “in transit” is a liminal space, neither here nor there. You can lose track of who you’re supposed to be on either end of the journey and sink into another world.
Ultimately, I think that’s why books and transportation go hand in hand: You have to blink back into reality when both of them end.