Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Mythopoetic Route

I recently returned from a writers' conference in Vermont. I enjoy these conferences because, during my stay, I'm surrounded by other writers, many of whom share the same concerns as I. For instance, for this brief time, it's easy to find someone to talk to about poetry without any mention of Jewel or the dead pope's book.

I had planned, thanks to a not altogether serious suggestion from my friend Andy, to write a road blog. Given my penchant for parody, I'd intended to post, upon returning home, some quasi-Kerouac-y ramblings. As I beat a path toward the conference site on the bongos in my head, unfamiliar signs served as inspiration, delays in traffic a chance to jot down bits of unhashed thoughts.

Maybe not unexpectedly, but unfortunately, I went off the beat-en path somewhere, making an already long car trip even longer. I don't know where exactly--my slight detour to cross Walt Whitman Bridge? my pee stop at the Joyce Kilmer rest area?

Past midnight, Tyrannosaurus Hives blasting over the speakers, day old Stop'n'Go coffee spotting my 2003 conference t-shirt, I weaved through a frayed string of sleepy New England towns, tiny moonlit anvils tied to my eyelids, lost in dark metaphor.

I knew where I wanted to be, but not how to get there.

Buying gas & a jumbo coffee, I asked the cashier at the convenience mart, the only lighted place within miles, for help. She told me in great detail how to find I-89, even repeated her directions to make sure I understood, which I appreciated, but I was asking about my life.