Last year I thought it would be easier to travel by train with one nice strong wheely suitcase – only one item of luggage to worry about; only one spot needed on the luggage rack; solid sides to protect the treasures inside; what could go wrong?
What went wrong was an overcrowded train insufficiently supplief with luggage space. I couldn’t lift my heavy case to the top of any piles, and it probably wouldn’t fit there anyway. I traveled most of the way from Manchester to London sitting on my suitcase near the door and standing to let further passengers squeeze me into ever tighter spaces, ever closer to falling out. Painful long and slow.
This year I carried two smaller more malleable cases and found … an overcrowded train with insufficient luggage space, all filled with other people’s super-large, super-solid items. I squeezed one case into the overhead space, panicked at every corner that it might fall down on some poor stranger’s head, then found at journey’s end that I needed the aid of not-poor strong-limbed strangers to pry it out. Meanwhile a fellow passenger’s large case filled the space where my feet were meant to go (cheap tickets in England are only valid for the designated seat). And there was nowhere for my other case, besides nowhere for me.
So I made friends with strangers, swapped life stories, rested one case on another and sat sideways in my designated seat with feet stretched into the aisle – thus, since every passer-by had to ask me to move, I made many more friends. And relationships between real characters became my suitcase story.
Which got me thinking – every story we write is like a suitcase filled with ideas – enough for more than one suitcase perhaps, even a series, but how we pack might not be the most important thing. Relationships will make or break the journey or the tale … and fill the author’s mind with more to follow.
So … pack heavy? Pack light? I’ll just try to pack “write.”