Reflections from a Road Weary Writer
Today I began the three-day return journey to Interlochen, Michigan with an eight-hour train ride along the east coast. I glimpsed the nation’s capital, the NYC skyline, and the coveted Connecticut shore from my coach class seat on Amtrak.
Traveling by train is and shall remain one of my favorite modes of transportation. It’s affordable, safe, relatively on time, comfortable, environmentally friendly, and convenient. It also feels like perpetually sitting in the arrivals gate at a major airport. People can come and go anonymously, yet chance encounters and interesting conversations abound.
When I meet new people nowadays, the conversation seems to quickly turn to the fact that I am on the road for two years. Since most people begin small talk by asking where you’re from or where you’re going, this seems a natural side effect. When I mention my travel plans for 2010, I sound like a bit of a “free spirit” or “wanderer,” though I’d never describe myself that way.
Place is undeniably crucial to my work as a writer, but place doesn’t define my life. Writing defines my life and that is an unchanging fact. While I may go from place to place, my work as a writer at large remains utterly focused—quite the opposite of wandering.
As a point of proof, my work here on this blog has been a bit off since I hit the road for “vacation” nearly two weeks ago. I don’t quite know what to do with my words when I’m not working full time as the writer I know how to be. I look forward to getting through this no-man’s-zone and back into the steady swing of part-time teaching, full time writing, and infinite striving.
The morning I left Interlochen for vacation, I ran into Leon Hammerhead’s wife at Bud’s (our local café).
“You know, the strangest thing happened a few weeks ago and I’ve been meaning to tell you,” said Leon’s wife.
“Yeah?” I said.
“Leon and I were sitting out in backyard and two paddlers passed by along the river. They were too far away for me to tell who they were, but they must have known who we were because they stood up and shouted to us.”
“What’d they say?” I asked, curious where this was going.
“They stood up in the boat and shouted, ‘TELL KATEY SCHULTZ WE LOVE HER BLOG.’”
“Are you serious?”
“Completely,” said Leon’s wife.
…And with that, I began my vacation. The feeling set me sailing for a few days and I look forward to getting back to Michigan, throwing myself headlong into the adventure of Interlochen Summer Arts Camp, and seeing what inspiration lies ahead.