What I Did On My Summer Vacation (Mid-Life Crisis Edition)

In late June 2005, Mom and I embarked on a five week, cross-country road trip.  I was in the midst of what I call mid-life crisis, part one.  After I quit my job, Dad and I purchased a 37-foot RV, then, Mom and I headed off to see states we hadn’t visited–which meant we decided to drive through the South.  In July.

I was recuperating from the intensity of fourteen-hour work days.  Mom faced health challenges.  Picking the hottest month of the summer to see the hottest states didn’t represent our best thinking.  Whenever I sat down and attempted to write straight narrative about the trip, I struggled.  While we enjoyed many great sights and experiences, we faced difficulties, too.  I wanted to write a happy-go-lucky travelogue but that didn’t match what occurred.

I recently began writing short pieces of travel flash.  In each, I write through the voice of experience, going back to a location I visited, describing what I saw, then reflecting on the past with the knowledge I have today.  The structure I’m following in the series Postcards from My Future Self gives me a way to compartmentalize my experiences from the great American road trip and unearth lessons in nature and place.

Thank you to Alisa Golden and the staff of *82 Review for publishing three of my flash essays–“Postcards from My Future Self: Tucumcari, New Mexico,” “Postcards from My Future Self: Chimney Rock State Park, North Carolina,” and “Postcards from My Future Self: New Orleans, Louisiana.”  I’m excited to be published alongside friend and poet Kali Lightfoot whose “Flip it on the Solstice and rotate on the Equinox” made me think about my need for space.  A print copy of the journal is available from Amazon.