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Chasing Down The Muse: Find out where your ‘train’ will take you

It is said that in creating the only hard thing is to begin.

Heck, I’ve even said it myself. So here I go, not knowing at all where this is headed. No thesis sentence. No moral outcome ahead. No idea at all where I am going.

That said, I have to admit there is a certain part of me that loves this idea of just beginning without a direction. It is kind of like getting on a train without knowing at all where you will get off. The trip is tinged with excitement. The journey itself definitely becomes the destination.

To me, this is spontaneous and filled with pure play. I like it. If you don’t know where you are going or what to expect, how can anything be “wrong”?


There are no rules, no dictates, no screaming “shoulds,” no ceilings and no limits.

I have always been drawn to stream-of-consciousness writing. It amazes me what comes from this very free form of writing, and I love reading books that are written in this format. Because I know that there are many folks who are driven mad by stream of consciousness, I will not go in that direction at least.

But just where will I go? In a topsy-turvy week, my deadline (or “finish line,” as my friend Sherry prefers to call it) has come and gone in a blur of commitments that pulled me away from not only the writing but any thinking about it. Usually, it seems there is a plethora of column ideas floating around in my busy mind — until now.

I need to get on that train and just go where it takes me. In the moment, (and what a great place that is to be) this conjures up all sorts of strange things: memories of past trips on trains and other conveyances; the whistle of trains in the canyon running below my grandparents’ home when I was a child; walking along train tracks on idle summer days.


Ah, the empty stretches of idle childhood summer days. Is this where I’m heading?

Back then, blackberry juice dripped down scratched forearms as the sweet taste on my tongue brought a grin of pure joy. Crows circled in raucous merriment overhead while I went tramping through the dry, dusty orange grove, the sweat streaming down my face and not caring. I savored the sweet taste of yet another fresh treat as I broke open a juicy orange from one of the low-hanging branches.

More memories are called of staying up late and playing cards with my grandmother until my eyelids could not stay open one moment longer. Then, the warm summer morning would bring a lazy deep sleep with bees buzzing their lullabies just outside the window. Cooking smells would finally pull me with a growling stomach up out of my dreams, ready to begin yet another easy day.

These days were filled without purpose or direction. The journey through the mellow, unscheduled, easy-going, indolent days was truly the destination. Like the song said, it was summertime and the living was easy.

Guess I’ve answered my own question about where this column is going. I’ve ridden my own sweet train back through time, with a little semblance of stream of consciousness thrown in for the heck of it. And I’m sure there’s a purpose, but like the idea of the journey being the destination, I don’t think I need to pull it all together and go there. You’re all smart enough to figure it out, right?

I wonder where your train would take you.

CHERRIL DOTY is an artist, writer, counselor … always fascinated, inspired, and titillated by the beauty and the myriad mysteries of life. She can be reached at or by phone at (714) 745-9973.