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Today was a very productive day. I got to sit down and focus on something I’ve been wanting to do for about a year now, and that’s put together a new book. This one goes back to an old friend of mine, Roadside Truckstop. Right now everything is together in one manuscript. I might shift some bits around but it’s all there. A lot of running. A lot of lost people. A lot of found people too. And the Elephant Graveyard. This is the introduction I wrote back in 1991 for Roadside Truckstop. Now if I can only come up with a good cover…

The road and I are at odds, and yet it’s on my side. It stretches in expansive metaphor with every billboard parable and roadside truckstop vignette. Towns and cities are interludes. Short or longish breaks in the monotony. The urge to take an exit and get lost in a new world is so very compelling, but the task of going home looms just as large.

I covered nearly 1000 miles today. Every stop was like the last: Pull in, get gas, whizz, get a drink, clean the windshield, pay the attendant, zero out the trip meter (to track gas use with–I trust it more than the gas gauge), then get rolling. The encounters I have are where the routine is broken. To every cashier, gas attendant, waitress and peone I run into, I’m a cipher. A blank slate. Just another face in the shuffle. As far as they know, I’m a famous rock star out for some inspiration, or a rich eccentric, or a travel writer, or whatever I wish.

This one truckstop I’d hit was all-encompassing. Reminded me of a starbase. A waystation where you can get a shower, get your laundry cleaned, buy contraceptives in the washrooms, sit and eat in a big restaurant, catch up on the news, get your car or rig repaired, even get a room to sleep in–all in one place. A guy could live and die here.

There’s a story in all the people that work there, and a few in the people who’re just happening through. Generally it’s all pretty laid back, nothing raucous. Kinda like a graveyard it gets so quiet. With all those big rigs, I’d almost call it an elephant graveyard. Really though, it’s ’cause everyone’s so tired.

Sleep. What a darling concept. Fourteen hours on the road, fourteen more will get me home….

One Comment

  1. Keep it comin’ John.

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