Writer's Words

It is the curse of those with writer’s minds that we invent possibilities. Alternative realities and back Writing Obsessionstories to all the events in our lives until it can be difficult to tell which is real and which is pure fairy tale. These stories weave in and out of everyday life and fork in both pleasant and unpleasant directions. These stories – these worlds, to the writer, and not just lands of make believe, but they exist. They are flesh and have feelings and emotions and voice and consequence. So how are our friends and family supposed to react when we exercise our nature based on these waking dreams? When we construct our own worlds upon the building blocks of our imagination instead of with the obvious materials they see before them?

This is constant problem. And I am glad to know that it doesn’t just happened to me. With any luck we are just labeled “eccentric”, given a pat on the shoulder and humored a bit. That is what I am hoping for anyway!

The other thing is, and I didn’t realize this until recently, is that those who are driven to write often do it to get something out of their heads. Honestly, I had thought this only applied to me. But, I have found that other too have no choice but to write because if they don’t then that scene or phrase or voice will stay in their heads forever. It will be in their just kicking, screaming, and banging on to the side of the skull. So the writer has to write. Has to get it out. But, and here is the odd part, once it is out the details can be forgotten. And they often are. So when later, a few days or a few years, they are asked about what they wrote, the writer will often stare blankly.

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Random Local Track

A friend of mine made this mistake of asking me a question about local trains one day – so here is a version of the answer I gave. Note that not many people make the error in judgement of asking me these questions often.

Seaboard EngineNot many people in Charleston these days know that there used to be a train that ran through West Ashley and then down behind South Windemere Sopping Center. The walking path behind Starbucks, now known as the Charleston Greenway – even though it is being paved, is where the old rail line ran. It extended from down near Porter Gaud School, paralleled Highway 17, and ran out to meet the mainline where Main Road goes onto John’s Island.

Originally this was operated by the Atlantic Coast Line, but after the merger of course, it became part of the Seaboard Coast Line. This was what was known as the Croghan Branch or Spur and there is a road over by the river, next to California Dreaming, named after it.  Among other things this line transported items to a concrete factory that was over there and the Nabisco plant and warehouses that were also there when I was growing up.

And, more important to me as a kid, this spur was used to deliver Christmas trees to the Optimist Club tree lot where my father volunteered each year. The trees came down from North Carolina wrapped up tight and packed in snow. So we hot little lowcountry kids actually got to make snowballs and have snowball fights once a year when the trees came in!  Until I was in my teens that was the only snow I had ever seen.

Oh, and this all would have been the end of the 60s or very early in the 70s. The picture above is not mine and is not of the actual train – I don’t think. But it strikes a chord somewhere in my memory.