By late morning I will be headed out
on the Vagabond trail - going as far as Faribault, Minnesota, today where I will stay overnight with my parents, and then on to Rugby, North Dakota, tomorrow. I am going "without expectations," as I like to; that is, I don't have a plan that I have to follow. I will allow the world to pull me this way and that as it sees fit. I have promised a friend that I will make a short presentation about my Vagabond project on Monday afternoon at a nursing home in Rugby, and I may interview some of the residents while I am there.
By Monday evening I will cross from middlewest to west, from Rugby to Towner; and I'll stay a few days there with a new friend, trying to ascertain what changes when you cross the 100th Meridian (where - as Wallace Stegner and Tom Montag agree - the west begins and the middlewest ends). We'll also head up towards Lignite, in the northwest corner of North Dakota, nearly at the Canadian border, and I'll look further to see what might make us different from westerners.
I'll be home late on March 17. Mary - just returned on Tuesday from her two hot and humid weeks in muddy Costa Rica to the snow-cover of Wisconsin - will be holding down the fort here in the meantime.
When I return from North Dakota, I will look at establishing "Plan B."
"Plan A" was to send a proposal to a university press I admire immensely, asking them to re-issue my farm memoir, Curlew: Home, which is about 130 copies from going out-of-print in its original Midday Moon Books edition. It will be a terrible shame for Curlew: Home to go out of print.
Well, I got word this week that my proposal has been declined: said university press which I still admire immensely informed me they won't be publishing another edition of Curlew: Home.
So what's my next step? What's Plan B? When I return, that's what I'll have to put my noggin to. If you have suggestions in the meantime, let me know.
While I am away, you can expect to see the daily "Lines" as usual, and the "Morning Drive Journal" entries (except that the "Morning Drive" itself will be going on vacation from March 16 to March 21). You will be without a "Saturday's Poem" on March 11 and March 18, which is the first break in that feature since it began more than two years ago. When I return, I hope to start putting up reports on both my recent trip to Fowler, Indiana, and this jaunt to Rugby and points west.
As the song should say, How can you miss me if I don't go away? Away I go....