The road ahead was unfamiliar, but that didn’t deter them from driving further; there was family to get to even thought they’d never been this way before.
It was new to Nate and Janice, this visiting their son and his new wife, Astrid and it was the first time they would be traveling along on this mountain road.
They left their suburban Indianapolis home in the late afternoon bound for the Missouri Ozarks, near the Tennesee border. Their son, Phillip was a new school teacher. this was their first Thanksgiving with his parents visiting.
The road was busy until they turned off the Interstate for the lonely country road through some high plains and the town of Chulka, which sat on the gown of the Ozarks.
The night was growing dark and as misfortune would have it the rain began to pelt their Vovlo station wagon.
“Are you sure we should go on,” asked Janice.
“Of course,” he replied, gripping the steering wheel tighter.
“We never been this way.”
“Just like any other road, I suppose.”
They drove for some time in the darkening rain. Janice had turned off the radio, which had been broadcasting NPR, but the dire weather warnings were getting to be too much for her. “Do you mind,” she asked before turning the radio off. Wordlessly, he agreed by shaking his head.
The car’s headlights cut the night into torrents of rain and intermittened darkness.
Their son and his new wife had lived with them in their home for two years before Philip finally got a job; they helped with the down payment on the house and were excited to see their only son off to tackle the world. Both Janice and Nate retired from their teaching jobs a month later as had been in the works for several years. They spent their summer working on a boat, which sat docked in South Haven, Michigan. The fall came and they worked together to covert their house into one they could sell. They’d paid off the mortagage several years ago and were excited with their new life.
“Are you sure?”
Nate turned slightly to look at his wife’s face, which dripped in reflection with the rainwater and shadow from the windshield.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do.” he said.
Janice reached over and gripped Nate’s hand on the steering wheel. “I don’t either.”
They drove on through the darkness, uncertain, going slowly, but continually forward.
Good magazine piece on Freewrite can be found: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/05/freewrite/481566/
Yesterday marked the end of my fifteenth year teaching undergraduates the fine art of composition and rhetoric (pronounced in industry parlance: Comp & Wreck) — which I’d taught since 2001, beginning in Houston. This last class contained some of the best student writers I’ve had the honor to guide and I thank them for that very privilege. I continue to teach full time in the MFA in Writing Program at Lindenwood University.
New work published in Tallow Eider Quarterly from my lyric essay “Beseke” link above.
Summer was wealthy with a daze of suntraps, writes Aidan Carl Mathews.
So great a sweetness flows into the breast, writes William Butler Yeats.
There is the creative joy, an acceptance of what life brings, because we have understood the beauty of what it brings, or a hatred of death for what it takes away… Sunspots and watery moats alight briefly. Most turn to fade should attention veer. There isn’t an audience I could accrue at the edges of this ecstasy. Only me and the spark, the flame in my soul.
We’re dancers… assembling & disassembling. Particles of the past, physicists say. All waves on ahead. Never stepping twice. Here and then not – Ourselves. In another time. Parallel on this very spot. With our footwork. On shuffle through. Portals behind, ahead. Within us — like odd music we’ve never heard before but can hum — a gyroscope heart.
(picture mine, artwork at Mizzou)
Dateline: Houston. I’d get lost. Take pictures. Write. Today, found the notebook I took along the way.
(after Harper’s Index)
Found this lyric essay in an old file box today. It’s from 2007 for a class in creative nonfiction with Maureen Stanton. I thought for years I’d lost it… and then there it was:
This is Not an Index
- Figures cited are the latest available as of exactly right now as you are reading this, gripping your pen and your coffee and thinking to yourself- should I do laundry tonight? THIS IS NOT AN INDEX is barely registered (in human terms) for obvious reasons. Duh.
artwork is mine