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?

0 Replies to “Our Writer's Car Pool Rocks”

  1. Hi Jo
    I can just imagine the group of you flying over the Malahat coming up with tag lines on everything from bodice rippers to time travel and romantic suspense! A fun day for sure.

  2. What a beautiful post! Getting together with other writers is always amazing. And I’m glad you mentioned Carol Shield’s book. She was a phenomenal writer and the book you mentioned rocked my world. Thanks for sharing your travel experience!

    1. Hi Jodie
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      I know what you mean about Carol Shield. Her work haunts me. After all these years,the image of the girl with the sign still sits in my mind, making me think about, “mercy”. What a talent.
      Great to have you back in the country.
      Best Wishes

  3. And you have a way with words, Jo-Ann. I literally saw the scenic drive. So beautiful. The bikers were real enough to hear the chains swinging and the rumble of the engins. The laughter tumbled out and around your group in the car. How super fun for you all to have the opportunity to make the journey together, each of you topping the other as ideas bubbled up.
    I remember a couple of trips with fellow writers to a conference in Houston. We were all pitching to editors/agents with the accompanying nerves. We must’ve repeated those pitches hundred of times in the car. We actually recognized each others and filled in a blank if someone faltered. And yes lots of laughter. Nothing came of those pitches, but since then all three of us have sold a book or books. Thanks for reminding me of fun times and conjuring the beauty of your part of the world. (Thanks for stopping by my place earlier, too. :))

    1. Hi Marsha
      Part of me wants to journal the car conversations, because they are so rich in detail and emotion. I know there could be a book in there. But of course it’s all private stuff, so I won’t do that and instead hold my memories close to my heart.
      I love your story about the traveling pitch group. It must be so gratifying to see three of them go on and succeed with their writing.
      I can’t wait to read your book.
      Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words.

    1. Hi Lee
      It’s the Serious Coffee shop on the west side of the highway just north of the Malahat (the last stop for us before we climb the mountain). Beside it is a busy Harley Davidson store, so bikers dominate the landscape. Our prim DH always stops there. It cracks me up. We talk sex and lace. They talk hogs. Gotta love the island.
      Thanks for stopping by

  4. Jo-Ann,
    Love your blogs, reading them is like talking to you, face to face. And even though I’m sad to say I missed Shelley’s wonderful workshop, I feel as if I was there with you on your ride home. Thanks for sharing that experience with us.

    1. Shereen
      Ahhh. I’m blushing. Thank you for your compliments. Coming from you they mean a lot.
      It was a wonderful trip. You’ll have to join us on a journey some day.
      Thank you for stopping by.
      Best Wishes

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