I sometimes take the train to and from school. It gives me an opportunity to read, write, look over student work or plan. It’s much more relaxing than driving on a busy day and I get to walk to work, getting a bit of exercise as well.
The train is also a great place to “people watch.” As I ride along I have the time to notice the uniqueness’s of my fellow passengers. Many are reading, listening to music or working on laptops. The conductor comes through punching tickets and you can always tell who is a regular traveler and who is new to the experience.
I create stories for my own amusement using my observations and the “snatches of talk” that drift by my ears.
“I wonder if the air conditioning will be turned on tomorrow.”
“Did you see her checking her iPhone at the meeting.”
“I’m not wearing heels tomorrow, it’s too hot.”
“How’s your bracket? Mine is all messed up.”
I ask questions that won’t be answered too. Where is everyone going? Why is he wearing a Blackhawk jersey while everyone else seems dressed for the office? What’s in that big box on the seat next to her? Does that phone ever leave her ear? She seems to talk non-stop! It looks like someone had a bad day judging by their expression and the way they stare out the window.
Commuter trains provide writers with things to wonder about, characters to create and stories to tell. I’m sure others may think about these things too, but writers take the time to write. Writing capture moments in a special way so they can be used later too.
I’ll take my observations and ideas, jot them down and save them for the future. Riding a train is like putting words in a “writer’s bank” so they can be withdrawn later.