When writing is talking to yourself in code

They say that dreams are a way of sending yourself secret messages, messages that when properly translated usually turn out to be something like “don’t forget to pick up some milk at the store on the way home tonight”. Sometimes it seems that fiction writers can be sending messages to themselves without being aware of it. This occurred to me recently as I undertook to explore my temporary new residence – the city of Christchurch, New Zealand – on daily bicycle expeditions far and wide. I purchased a paper map of the city for the purpose of mapping out these scouting trips, and as I began to mark down where I’d been, I realized that I’d written about this very thing in my story Snapdragon Alley (albeit through city buses rather than bikes). I’d thought I was merely being nostalgic for my younger days, when I explored several cities where I’d lived – Bologna, Bogota, Philadelphia, Washington DC and San Francisco – in this fashion, but really I was telling myself that I was yearning to do it again. Instead of actually doing it, I was writing it. I guess for me this is the equivalent of writing sex scenes!


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