Tag Archives: how-i-almost-started-writing

How I Almost Started Writing: Zürich

I am sitting the Zürich Hauptbahnhof. A monotone voice calls out the arrivals and departures, first in German then in English. The timetables scroll by.

This is my last day in Switzerland, perhaps for years.

I marvel at the small miracle of the ticket counter. I can simply walk over and buy a slip of paper capable of transporting me to cities whose names beckon with the deep sense of magic the lonely find in such words: Madrid, Prague, Rome, Budapest, Paris, Copenhagen, Berlin. After the first jump, there are other destinations: Istanbul, Moscow, Helsinki, Athens, Sicily. On the coasts, there are ships. I might run across the sea. I might land in Morocco. I could go to Egypt…

Starting a novel so soon after an intense experience is a bad idea. Your mind hasn’t had the opportunity to process all of the information, to distill the moments into true memories. True memories are those that survive the culling of time, and density, as opposed to intensity, is the prerequisite. The building of one related experience upon another all within a relatively short period of time establishes the pathways required for future reflection. However, it takes more time still, to understand the importance of those memories, to place them into the proper context.

I have no idea how long it will take for me to place my experience in Switzerland into the proper context, but I love this country. The people and the culture. Of course, the landscape too. You cannot help but love the majesty of the place. I miss it already while simultaneously longing to be free of the place.

Everything looks blue under the skylights in the station. The heavy scent of diesel punctuates the thought of travel. Home is the only place I really wanted to be right now, but they aren’t selling tickets to home… That destination must wait until tomorrow.

How I Almost Started Writing is a series of brief portraits focused on the times in my life where I found myself on the verge of focusing solely on the writing life.