The Driver’s Seat


The driver’s seat of my car is a place of infinite possibility. When I’m behind the wheel, when the eucalyptus and acacias pass by in a blur and the winding white highway seems to stretch on into eternity, the low, constant rumble of the engine is a promise of freedom. With the aroma of steaming coffee in a travel mug and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra alternately whispering and thundering through the speakers, my cares shrink to the confines of my little blue Honda.

There are no maps, no directions, no destinations. I wend my way through Queensland’s mountainous rainforest regions where sunlight dapples the road through the overhanging vines and branches. I meander along the coastline where the sea is almost indistinguishable from the sky, but for the small white streaks of rolling waves near the shore. I detour at the whim of my capricious fancies, be it a secluded abbey tucked away in the mountains or a rest stop along the highway overlooking a verdant green valley and roads that disappear into unexplored horizons.

It is in such places–nestled in the driver’s seat that gives rise to this liberty–that I pull out my favourite leather-bound notebook, and write. The tantalising glimpses through my windscreen of what lies ahead, and the intoxicating knowledge that the key to it is quite literally in my hands, stirs my imagination. I write of great adventures in distant lands where magic is more than sleight of hand. I write of more personal journeys through the loftiest heights and deepest abysses of mind and emotion.

But most importantly, I write of hope and of wonder. For they are what keeps me going down that road with my faithful hatchback, though I can’t see what’s ahead. They’re why time and time again, I find myself in the driver’s seat with my foot to the pedal and the familiar at my back. Hope motivates; wonder rewards. It can be something as simple as blossoming jacaranda trees, their lilac petals drifting lazily through the air. A flock of cockatoos taking flight from a grazing field like a rippling wave of cloth. Diaphanous fringes of cloud in luminous shades of pinkish-orange against the setting sun. The vast, finely-speckled swathes of stars on a moonless night, far from the lights of civilisation.

It’s not those specific sights I try to capture in my writing, but the underlying emotions. As a full-grown adult, I grasp at the fraying remnants of childhood where the world was extraordinary and captivating, and attempt to pin it down as words on a page. I travel to the unknown, returning with a new perspective and pages filled with ink.

I write in the driver’s seat, where all great adventures start.

Leanne Yong is an aspiring Aussie author who is working on her second young adult novel. Check out her blog at Clouded Memories for more information and a journal chronicling her latest foray into novel writing.

Photo by Hello Turkey Toe, via Flickr


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