Friday, March 20, 2009

"Bought a ticket for a runaway train"*

I recently headed down to NYC for one of the SCBWI Writers of Lower Fairfield County Editor Evenings (mine is the middle grade novel...and how great is it that I'm referred to as an author?). As usual, I took the hour-and-a-half train ride into Grand Central.

I often go into the city with the girls. (Here's a kind-of-old picture of "the girls" at the Hard Rock Cafe. I'm the cute one!)

When I'm with the girls, the train rides fly by. We usually have so much catching up to do that the ride is over before we've run out of things to say. The focus is on us and not the world that streams past the windows.

However, I took this most recent trip alone. I brought a book, but the scenes through the glass grabbed my attention. It wasn't the beauty of life that interested me; it was the real scenes of life that caught my imagination. I appreciate that Metro North Railroad takes a direct route from point A to point B and doesn't try to send the train through the most picturesque areas.

My little tour of the wrong sides of the track gave me much to think and dream about. And I was able to do it from the safety of my train seat. Here are some of things I saw:

  • A beat up compact car (possibly a Hyundai Accent) sits in a parking lot behind some kind of apartment complex. It's purple, and not a deep night-sky kind of purple, more of a dark lavender kind of purple (not my first choice for a car color). The back quarter panel on the passenger's side is all banged up, and the back tire on that side is flat. I wonder what story that sad little car has to tell? An adventure? A tragedy?
  • A young boy hangs out with his friends at a school playground. He's waving to the train, or maybe he's waving at some other object in the same eye line. He's got a big grin on his face. Is the smile sweet? Mischievous? What do his friends think of his enthusiasm?
  • Three cops cars are parked side-by-side in the back parking lot of some large store. They're hidden from the road and no other cars are near them. What are they doing there? Slacking off? Planning some big bust?

There are so many stories being told when you take a few minutes to look out the window.

*Soul Asylum