Driving On a Rainy Day

I have a relatively dangerous habit — and curse — of coming up with ideas for stories, poems, and projects while I’m driving. But I do not text and drive! I use the voice recognition feature to get my thoughts down, otherwise I’ll forget them and they’ll be gone forever.

I came up with this poem while driving to New Paltz today. The nice thing, I’ve learned, about using the voice recognition feature on my phone is that I get to hear how the poem sounds.

I think a lot of us write sentences specifically to look good on paper, but forget that writing, regardless of genre, is about telling a story, about preserving what we hear and think. I’ve written a number of stories and poems that looked good, but they didn’t transfer over to being read out loud during workshops and readings.

Reading out loud is also a technique I used when I worked in the writing center at Queens College. When I had my students read slowly, they found tons of mistakes on their own. They were able to determine for themselves, without being comfortable with grammar, what needed to be changed to make their papers flow smoothly.

If you haven’t read your work out loud before, I really recommend you do. Make sure you’re not in public and in a place where no one else can hear you. And make sure you read slowly. Let your voice guide you. Here’s what I came up with…

Driving On a Rainy Day

The rain, static against
the windshield,
shields my view as I drive
down

the cloudy New York State Thruway,
past the mountains,
across the river,
with woods on both sides
that I often catch myself
staring through
as the air sinks down,
through the tree branches.

In the distance, the sky is clear
and slightly blue,
and all I could do
is wait.

 

Submissions

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. ellie894 says:

    I do both of these too! Write when I’m not in a place to write 🙃. And reading aloud, you’re right, the ear catches a Lot of things that an eye alone will miss.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny. Most people who don’t do it don’t think it’ll work, but when it does, it’s like they finally understand what writing is all about. As a tutor, that was one of the best feelings.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with your recommendation to read out loud. I always vocalize my words as I write. Talking out the sentences over and over. It also helps me when I am trying to set a mood or capture a tone. Sort of getting in to character, if you will.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! Getting into character is a very important part of writing. Characters have to be more than just the words on the page. They have to live in our heads. We have to be able to hold conversations with them. They should be just as much alive as anyone else we know.

      Liked by 2 people

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