Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Road

It used to be that I spent a great deal of time in my car or on airplanes. On the one hand, I'm lucky that I don't have to travel as much anymore. On the other, I kind of miss it.

Yes, I get road weary. Yes, it throws off my body's natural rhythms. Yes, it a shock to be suddenly still after so many hours of being in motion. Yes, it is a pain in my ass to pack, unpack, repack, go through security lines, fill up my gas tank, and all that good stuff. But being on the road has its advantages.

I see things all over the place--in hotels, airports, rest areas--that contribute to my writing. It's not just about transcribing these experiences. It's the woman in Brussels who had the perfect hair for one of my characters, or the city lights seen from miles up in the sky inspiring poems about the place I've departed.

And there are other benefits. Traveling opens me up. There's a couple who run the laundromat in Cambridge, MA, who were so nice to me one incredibly hot summer I wanted to hug them both, which is not a thing I do. There's the rainbows that connect me to my college friend Sara, who told me they remind her of her grandmother, and now I think of them every time I see one. There's the random places I've been and stayed with friends, which experiences have allowed me to experience something new: Shelbyville, IN, where I went to a fantastic family diner; Marietta, GA, where I realized it was okay to run away sometimes; Philadelphia, PA, where I experienced my second Fourth of July in a city integral to the beginnings of American history (the first being Boston).

This is the kind of stuff that I can't let go. No matter how many times I get dehydrated from flying or how poorly I sleep at my parents' house, I want to keep moving.


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