You go where you gaze.
This is the lesson, along with “slow in, fast out of the apex racing line” pounded into one’s head when one learns to race cars. Where I look is where I end up heading, where I carve my racing line.
I’ve raced at Thunderhill and Laguna Seca–eyes always on the destination coming out of turns. Steady. Unblinking.
Turn #8 at Laguna Seca is the infamous “corkscrew.” It is a blind turn and if you’re on a motorcycle, it is two turns. But in a car, you set your eye on a tree at the horizon, and even though the earth dives down so you can’t see what’s directly ahead so for a moment you feel like you’re flying as you aim the car towards the distant tree, the tip top of which is visible throughout. You have faith in your gaze. You rip through the corkscrew in a straight line. You do not look at the track. You look at the top of the tree until you come down, until you can see it in its entirety. And then you adjust your gaze again, to another destination.
Your gaze is your quest.
Even six years later, at a point in time I feel very few ill-effects from my left thalamic stroke, I’ll still have occasional post-stroke brain burps. Like when I walk down a flight of stairs; I’ll “lose track” of which foot I’m stepping. And “losing track” of which foot you’re stepping with as you walk down a flight of stairs means a potential tumble down the stairs.
I’ve tumbled down a flight of stairs and wrenched my rotato cuff–it is not fun. I remember envisioning myself falling and then I did just that.
The way I get out of this “brain confusion” is to gaze at where I want to go. I’ll just look at the next step. I refuse to imagine a fall. It helps me reset.
This is how I write my novel. I envision it finished.
Your quest is your dream.
Joining Heather’s Abecedary, Fog City Writer, and other writers like Susan Ito in working through the alphabet with short, memoir-like pieces. Except I’m going to go in reverse, beginning with “Z.” It’s called Alphabet: A History.