I did approximately 25 hours of driving over a stretch of three days. Twelve hours on the Saturday to get from Melbourne to Jervis Bay up the coastal goat trail otherwise known as the Princess Highway. Roughly two hours on the Sunday driving around to my favourite beaches at the bay for a quick show and tell dampened by drizzle all day and the occasional cows crossing the road on their way to be milked. Eleven hours on the Monday from Jervis Bay to Melbourne via the inland dual carriageway known as the Hume Highway (with a slight detour north for a cameo catch up with an old friend at a scenic lookout favoured by both of us when we first learned how to drive).
The driving was especially tough as it came at the tail end of my recovery period from a foreign flu super-bug. (No, not my cousin but perhaps a virus he brought with him flying from Europe via Bangkok.) I was worried about taking such a long drive given I was still recuperating, was worried I would relapse as has occurred the couple of other times I have chosen to venture out of home while still unable to control my incessant coughing.
But it turns out the long drive, a couple of days of my mother's home made soup, the breathtaking views from and crystal white sand and clear waters of the beaches of my spiritual home, and the time spent in quiet contemplation in the car alone for almost half of that extended driving time has inspired me. Head cleared vision.
I came home to my change of scene (my guestless house for the first time in a month) with an idea for a wonderful nuance to the climax scenes of the currently drafted novel, the Penitentiary, a sub-plot that will provide some great leverage in the sequel, the Crusades, and a pearler of an idea on how to thematically structure this sequel. All of which will add considerable coherency to the overall story arc across all three stories in the trilogy.
I've been back a day and spent my day yesterday writing with a demon inside of me. The currently drafted novel has now been tweaked in those final scenes. It is now ready and waiting for the agent to get back to me, who I expect to hear back from in mid-March. If the agent likes the sample chapters he's been provided, he's going to find the rest of the book riveting reading (I hope). I'll be one step closer to marketing my product to a traditional publishing house.
And I'll be spending the rest of my week drafting my story board (scene by scene) for the sequel. This will mean I will have two complete story boards (for both prequel and sequel) by the week's end. (Aside: I've already written in substance the first three scenes of the prequel.) I'm excited. And I haven't coughed once today.
It seems long drives and long walks clear away the white noise and debris inside my head. It seems Jervis Bay feeds my imagination like no other place.
Perhaps an artist roadtrip may be in order later in the year when I again need a boost to my creativity. Others more than welcome to join me!