What does GOOD WRITING do for us?
I think the most important thing a piece of writing can do is move the reader into another place in their own mind.
A visually impaired writer friend did this for me today. I read his latest essay. He wrote an article on “driving” for his blog. My mind moved through his words, and into my own place and time. Isn’t that what GOOD WRITING should do for us?
His words made me think
of my own loss of driving.
I have to say, driving is the thing I miss very much. Driving is a physical act, in itself. I miss the physicality of operating my hot little Z-car and the feeling of freedom I experienced. I drove wherever I wanted to go. Driving enabled me to get myself to airports so I could take off for trips to Europe every summer. I felt freedom when I arrived there by myself – I loved driving to the airport, leaving my car in the long-term parking lot, and getting on board for a long flight.
Some days, I just took the top out of my car, and drove for a few hours, just to feel the breeze in my hair, the music surrounded me, and I was one with the road beneath us. Driving is a dance in time and space; it is pure enchantment.
The driving I miss most of all is the dance I enjoyed every time I rode my motorcycle. At time we screamed down the highway surrounded by traffic. Summer days, we maneuvered on the rough and winding rural roads with other friends on bikes. I met the challenges of the switchbacks. I drove into sharp hairpin curves and down into the western Pennsylvania gorges; we climbed together up the steep thrusting curved roads. My eyes focused ahead for the upcoming curves and watched for oncoming traffic. The concentration required to do the rain slicked mountain roads made my hands sweat with pleasure inside the fingerless leather driving gloves. Each new turn captured my full attention. I was in the moment and time seemed to stand still.
My bike is the “Blue Dragon.”
She sets these days in my garage, covered up, and alone. My husband takes her out just to exercise her parts, but just for short rides around town. My Blue Dragon has the most fantastic paintings all over her that anyone could dream up. Wherever we went together, people would stop what they were doing to come and have a look, and smile.
When a person rides a bike that they love, it’s a feeling of personal freedom. One afternoon, I rode the “Blue Dragon” through Amish country. I was alone, dressed in black leathers. I passed the little country school house at a time when the children were outside playing. It was a sunny day in the autumn, and the entire landscape was ablaze with vivid colors. The teacher watched me passing by the school yard. Then, the unexpected happened as she raised her arm to give me a wave. I can still see her broad smile, in my memory. I raised my arm to her in response, and we smiled at each other briefly as I passed by. It was a special moment, when two sisters recognized each other. For that moment, we were one with the universe.
Just for fun, at night, I often did something surprising when I sat at a red light in traffic. I threw a switch and the Blue Dragon suddenly lit up the road beneath us with the bright green neon lights. The switch was located just underneath my seat. The brilliant lights were a surprise, and children shouted with happiness, laughed and pointed to me. They waved to me, as their parents laughed and nodded with approval at my little light show on the pavement. The traffic light changed and Blue Dragon’s neon lights were switched off. I clutched the bike and kicked her into first gear; we drove into the darkness.
Occasionally, I still walk out to the garage and put my right leg up over her seat and place my two feet firmly on the concrete floor. I shift her weight with my hands on her handlebars and I give a quick upwards tug to balance her on two wheels. She feels weightless.
The long black leather solo seat holds my body erect and provides just the right amount of tension for the weight to be balanced. I sit there, and I hold onto the handlebars with my arms extended. I pull her clutch in towards the palm of my left hand. With the toe of my left foot, I thrust it upwards, kick her into gear. For a moment, we are about to leave for a drive once again. Only for a moment.
What do I miss the most about being visually impaired?