It’s the Brain Train I’m talking about, here.

Maybe it’s the train itself I’m waiting for, in the manner of those long impatient looks down the track that are riderly juju for getting the vehicle to arrive faster. Maybe it’s a waiting for the passenger on that train who sent me a lovely smile, once; a guy who may smile that way at me again.

Either way, waiting is all there is.

Some mornings are full of eagerness for the writing ahead. These are the days that can’t begin fast enough. The train is in the station, the smiling stranger is in the train’s window, and everything that happens could happen today.

Sometimes the train is delayed; the stranger, absent. The possibilities exist, but the reality doesn’t. Other people arrive, other trains. But they’re not the right one. The sense of inevitability, of forward movement, of being carried away—that particular train is late. Maybe it won’t come at all.

Writing, some days, is all exultant joy. Sometimes it’s like crawling up a mountain on hands and knees. Sometimes, it’s waiting for a train that stubbornly refuses to show up. The train is in the head. The head is off its track, somehow.

Am I worried? Nope. Would I rather be sitting in my passenger seat, watching the ideas flash past? Much better. Sometimes, the Zen of patience is hard to come by when the train is stalled.