Our Writer's Car Pool Rocks - Jo-Ann Carson

Our Writer's Car Pool Rocks

“Stories are the glue that holds together our fragile human enterprise.”

Donald Maass,Writing the Breakout Novel, p. 229


We have the best car pool in the world, filled with laughter, tears and friendship. What would you expect when you cram a bunch of writers into a car?
Every couple of months, “the group” drives two hours down the island to Victoria  on a highway that takes us along the coast through scenic vineyards, dairy farms, and quaint little towns and then winds up and over a mountain pass with spectacular ocean views to our destination at the capital. We stop half way at a biker’s coffee shop (think black leather, motorcycles and testosterone). It all fits together, a piece of the puzzle that has become my crazy life as a fledgling writer.
It’s not the exterior scenery of this journey that stills my heart, though it is magical in its own way. It’s the internal dialogue. We talk about books we’re reading, have read, or want to read. We debate writing theory and confess to our latest struggle with words. And we talk about our lives. Everything we discuss is related through a writer’s lens, and that’s what truly intrigues me.
Take for example our discussion this Saturday about homeless people. Each of us had our own poignant story about encountering one. I’d love to relay each tale, because they were the kind of experiences that really make you stop and think, but they’re not my stories to tell. They brought to my mind one of Carol Shield’s last books, in which an estranged daughter ends up on the street and we learn at the very end that the sign she holds reads: “Grace.”
On the return trip, after an amazing workshop on “Tools for Modern Writers,” given by Shelley Bates we worked on tag lines for each other. Imagine conjuring up tags for urban fantasy, romantic suspense, time-travel, and Regency writing. We had lace, bodices, wolves and danger meandering through a creative muck of labels that never seemed to fit. Each tag sounded funnier than the one before it, to me, because I was exhausted, but sharing the process felt right. It was like we were accessing a large collective of minds rather than just my own.
What can I say? It was another wild adventure with this group. My words cannot express how special they are and how unique an experience it is to travel with them. These ladies are true storytellers. Their tales are laden with emotion and a self-awareness that touches one deeply.
Can’t wait until the next ride:)
Do you have interesting journeys with friends?