Watts (chipotle) wrote,

Notes from the road

The trip out to Livermore was a success as far as improving my mood, despite finding out that the cafe I’d planned to camp out at there was closed. I had a nice breakfast at the Railroad Cafe—which seems to have some pretty cool breakfasts, from Welsh rarebit with Canadian bacon and fresh asparagus to “Hawaiian” French toast made with coconut milk batter and topped with caramelized pineapple—and ended up taking something of a tour of Livemore, winding up at Tracy. I hadn’t been to Livermore much, other than a brief run through a road downtown once a year or two ago, and I’m surprised at how pretty some of the country around there is. This side of the Bay Area has more of a high desert feel to it in the sense I remember from New Mexico—scrub and grasslands, not dirt—and Livermore manages to keep that feel while bringing in the rolling, vine-covered hills from Napa Valley.

However, the detour through Tracy only succeeded in reinforcing my impression of Tracy as a place with nothing to speak of there—other than, evidently, the closest Sonic Drive-In to where I live. I like Sonic, but not enough to hang out in Tracy until dinnertime. As I write this, I’m at a Peet’s Coffee in Dublin, having used the “e-cup” coupon that shaterri gave me for a gingerbread latte.

And, while I’ve written a bit today (more than I wrote the last two days combined, although this still puts me thousands of words behind an ideal goal), I am realizing what the actual problem with the novel idea I’ve chosen is: it’s a road trip story.

“But wait,” you might say. “You like road trips. For Peet’s [sic] sake, you just drove fifty miles one way for breakfast. Could there possibly be a better example of ‘write what you know’ for you out there?”

Well, yeah. And it’s a story set in the San Francisco Bay Area, no less. The problem is, it’s starting out in a place that I haven’t seen much of yet, and it’s not like I know most of the greater area like the back of my hand. The chances are that none of the story is going to take place right where I live. (As much as it would pain the San Jose Visitors’ Bureau to admit it, if a family comes to the SF Bay Area on vacation, the South Bay is not going to be their primary destination.)

This is, of course, not an insurmountable problem. In the worst case, I can just gloss over the parts that I don’t know, or make shit up. If the novel’s any good when the first draft is finished I can go back and make the parts that need to mirror real life actually do that.

Now, though, it’s probably time to head on my way. I’m becoming tempted by an idea for making a cheap Chemex-style coffee brewer as I sit here, so I should leave before I buy an actual Chemex brewer…

Tags: travel, writing

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