One thing I miss about commuting into Manhattan for work (the only thing I miss, really) is the train ride. Some people have their best thinking/brainstorming moments while walking, in the shower, cleaning up around the house, but for me, it’s “passengering.” Sitting still while in a moving vehicle (nothing to trip over, that way!), staring out the window, watching the world rush by. There’s something about that movement that frees my brain to whirl as rapidly, rushing from concept to concept, connecting thoughts and creating epiphanies as quickly as the window view passes from tree to tree.
This past week, I visited family in Indiana, and—as a starving artist who needs to finish her novel before even having the chance to get paid for the effort—I went the long, less-expensive route of taking a train there: Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited line that runs from New York City to Chicago. I would be getting off in South Bend, merely 1 1/2 hours from the train’s final stop. The trip length would total 17 hours going, 18 coming back: I would have lots of brainstorming time!