Tomorrow I head west, at least a little bit, and a lot north, meandering until I find myself in Marysville for five days of being Marshall County’s little poet-in-residence. There’s little I love as much as heading off to someplace new to see what happens. Add to this that I get to meet with dozens of high school students, lunch with elders, give a reading at a historic museum, ride the rails, meet lots of arts lovers, eat a bunch of food, do an all-day writing singing and workshop with Kelley Hunt, and perform with Kelly as well as our friend, the sublime dancer (and artist) Laura Ramberg, and well, I’m kind of in heaven.
When I was growing up, trying to imagine what I would be (as opposed to just being who I was, which has its own fascination but often got me into heaps of trouble), I knew the contents of contentment, but not the form. I wanted to travel, sing and perform, make things, meet people, and wander. In my mind, I even invented my own band called the Rootin’ Tootin’ Tootets, and of course I was lead singer, but I also would bang a tamborine against my non-existent (at the time) hips. The band and I toured extensively, each day an adventure. Turns out it all came true except for the singing part (although one could say reading poetry is its own kind of song).
But I think what I’ve always craved is taking road trips into the mystery of the wide-open world, and by mystery, I mean the present magic around us at each moment. Sometimes it’s easier to see and appreciate when stepping out of the car in a tiny town to look at what’s left of a charmer of an old gas station, but nevertheless, travel is clearly just a way to come home. And home is where the motion always is too.
This is all to say that jumping in the van tomorrow and aiming myself some place new is a way to become that Rootin’ Tootin’ Tootet lead singer again, thrilled at what the road will bring next.
Pictures (from top): Black squirrels from a park in Marysville — I WILL see those squirrels; Koester House museum, where I give a reading Thurs. night; the tour bus for my band would be even more colorful; Waterville Opera House, where Kelley, Laura and I perform on Sunday.