“At the end of hours of train-dreaming, we may feel we have been returned to ourselves — that is, brought back into contact with emotions and ideas important to us. It is not necessarily at home that we best encounter our true selves. The furniture insists that we cannot change because it does not; the domestic setting keeps us tethered to the person we are in ordinary life, but who may not be who we essentially are.” Page 59

Reporting live from the 1307 East Grinstead to London Victoria service, I forgo my usual train habits to post this blog about what I would prefer to be doing right now: train-dreaming.

Long before I’d read the passages quoted in today’s post, I’d known that trains and me are good together.

Having a view sliding past a fast-moving landscape lets my mind expand and bounce around without any of the pressures of frustrated concentration. I save my thorniest problems for train time. Puzzles complete, possibilities explode and even poems unfold. Give me train-dreaming any time.

I wasn’t particularly pleased when several years ago I came across someone else with a lot to say about train-dreaming. I wasn’t pleased because I was envious. Someone else had stolen my thoughts, said them so much better and gone and published them! The _ _ _ _ _ _ _ !

But to prove I have matured since then I shall not attempt to outdo Alain de Botton in his brilliant descriptions of mind-wandering in transit.

“Journeys are the midwives of thought. Few places are more conducive to internal conversations than a moving plane, ship or train. There is almost a quaint correlation between what is in front of our eyes and the thoughts we are able to have in our heads: large thoughts at times requiring large views, new thoughts new places. Introspective reflections which are liable to stall are helped along by the flow of the landscape. The mind may be reluctant to think properly when thinking is all it is supposed to do. The task can be as paralyzing as having to tell a joke or mimic an accent on demand. Thinking improves when parts of the mind are given other tasks, are charged with listening to music or following a line of trees.” Page 57 de Botton’s The Art of Travel.

Which leaves me with another 40 minutes of this journey to indulge myself and do just this …


1 Comment

Filed under Books etc., Not in London, States of mind

One response to “Train-dreaming

  1. Pingback: Knit yourself together | Panic Station

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