Stopping over at a Circle K across from a Kohl's that ostensibly forms the nucleus of Yuma, I stepped out of the driver's seat, set the lukewarm ziplock holding my mom's crisp tuna melt sandwiches on my car's roof and chowed down. And in that moment, seeing the locals pump their gas, watching others come out through the ringing doors with snacks and DVDs of 90's B movies, I felt this exhilarating rush at knowing that I could be anyone to these people.
No one within a two-hundred mile radius could label me as part of any particular workforce, or think me odd for acting outside the routines and social conventions I'd maintained over the preceding years. Every construct I'd occupied was now bloated to bursting from the dust of my wheels, and only reinvention lay on the horizon.
Driving has always been a relaxing pastime of mine, and there were certainly many nights when I was nineteen or twenty in which I hit 100 miles easily, with stereo blaring and no destination. It's no surprise, then, that my book depicts characters who ride eagles over vast stretches of terrain at will, and a protagonist who keeps moving, away from the shackles of his past, away from every home that sooner or later caves in, towards that far-off place where all is undiscovered. This scene aptly represents that roving spirit:
Morlen took great strength in Roftome’s pride, sitting well at ease even while they tumbled and swayed in a surveying pass over the beckoning snowy heights where thousands more flocked. There were no rulers here, nor subjugated masses. There were only those made kings by their own reckoning, sharing countless snow-capped thrones with one another, and none would be led who did not wish to follow.
He envisioned this place serving well as one of many homes he made for himself in later days, none of which would keep him settled too long, since he would not be confined to one edge of the world.
“Let us make a pact,” Morlen said with renewed enthusiasm. “To leave no cloud untouched, and no mountain un-treaded, when less-troubled times call to us.”
Etching an elegant path flanked on many sides by foreign realms and alien skies, Roftome raised his sturdy head in acceptance. “No mountain un-treaded,” he repeated boldly, with chest puffed. “And no cloud untouched.”
I've been moving around my whole life, between two homes from age six to eighteen, along avenues demanding commitments that push my passion and talent to the fringe, and the only stability I've ever found satisfying is in the constant unpredictability that creation affords. From when I was a kid, up to now, I fantasized about people and places that couldn't exist in the confines I knew, and through becoming them, I could go anywhere, always thriving on that novelty and hoping it never expired.
I suppose what I and my characters want is a life in which settling is not for a lack of energy or prospects, but in the discovery of something so thrilling that every moment brings a thousand opportunities, so that to leave would only turn us back towards paths we walked before.
Cue the Aerosmith soundtrack video for "Armageddon."