I was driving down the east coast last weekend, and saw a sign in Virginia for Dinosaur Land. Naturally, I had to stop. Time was tight; I had a state to cross before my destination, so I skipped stepping into the Mesozoic era – populated as it was by concrete behemoths – and only perused the gift shop. America is full of Dinosaur Lands, I reasoned, and I had to economize.
In the last year or so, I’ve been to or through thirty-five states. My favorite part of being on the road is when I’m able to follow my curiosity – the most fruitful of impulses – and stop wherever intrigues me. It has led me to the world’s largest ball of twine, the natural grandeur of Mount Zion, and a number of honky tonk bars. But, there’s never enough time.
My residency at OAC allowed me the same freedom travel did, but more so: it gave me the boundless time and space to follow my curiosity. I was free to see cattle sold at a livestock auction with Josh, to learn about bread baking from Mimi, to sit in the Hermann Historical Society stacks and read about Missouri’s settlement. Five months after leaving OAC, that freedom still informs my writing.