I’m listening to Simon & Garfunkle’s song – America. It has always been one of my favorites. When I first heard it as a young girl, I thought – I am in search of America and apparently you go on the road to find it. Lo and behold, here I am on the road in search of America. I’m not sure what it means – searching for what? But I know it’s connected to my journey as a writer.
I am on the road to look for America. I just read a fantastic book written in 1982 – Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon. He is a Native American who was an English prof at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Personal circumstances had him leave his job and life to go “in search of” by going on a road trip circling the country. In the book, he writes small vignettes about the places and the people on the backroads – the highways that are colored blue on the old paper maps. Maybe it is our common background or maybe I really liked his take on what he found. But I was engrossed in his storytelling.
I am on the road to look for America. I’ve seen so much and had hundreds of amazing experiences. I don’t know if I’ve conveyed those as powerfully as they struck me. Walking in Selma and Montgomery, AL was profound in its sentiment. I could imagine the emotion and tumult of the 1960s all around me. Seeing and being in Louis Sullivan’s Jewel Boxes in MN and IA was like being inside a great work of art. Where did that inspiration come from? Walking into the office where Daniel Burnham planned the Chicago Columbian Exhibition – the White City, in the Rookery building in Chicago was emotionally moving. The enormity of what he accomplished set in. Sitting on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River last summer and later, staring at the night stars in ND are experiences that stay with me still.
I have another six weeks here on the Gulf Coast of Texas, avoiding snow and cold, and breathing in some wonderful sea air while watching dolphins play in Estes Cove. After that, I’ll be heading west. Meanwhile, my second book Finding Her Happiness, continuing the Ruth Reid saga, will come out in February. That’s really why I park for a while – so I can do what really moves me and that is to write.
While writing “about” places I visit is great and often gives people a sense of what they might see and do if they were here, it’s not enough for me. I want to take on the practice of letting my writing voice expand and write about places in a way that reflects what I feel, what I hear, what the experience is like. Maybe people won’t find that as interesting or maybe they will find it more interesting. I’ll continue to provide pictures and musings but expect a little extra. Expect me to write a little differently, expect to hear my voice come through. I hope you will enjoy it.
Sunset at Estes Cove in Rockport, TX
All the pictures included in this post are from my daily life in Rockport, TX, including a little camping trip I took with friends to Goose Island State Park which is about 30 minutes away from where I am staying this winter. I have a lot of gratitude for being in such a beautiful place. My daily life is in a fairly crowded commercial campground, not the outdoor serenity of Goose Island. But 50 yards from my front door is water with sea life, sea birds, fishermen, tug boats, and sport boaters. The sun rises over the outward islands that are barriers to the Gulf for us and the sun sets with spectacular cloud colors reflected over the water. One of the things I loved most about living in FL was the brilliant color of the sky at all different times of day – it’s because of the water. They call it Caribbean blue and cotton candy clouds. Though I love my time in the midwest and the PNW, the sky doesn’t look like it does here.
Tonight was the first full moon of 2022 – the Wolf Moon. I saw it rising tonight – brilliant over the water. I imagine in those moments, what transpires under the Wolf Moon? Great cities were built, wars were fought, Native Americans traversed the country, writers take road trips. It’s amazing. Meanwhile, the world keeps turning and cats keep lounging. Till next time.