Heading Home: Field Notes

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Lyrical language highlights vivid imagery in this collection of essays that touch on themes of travel, transformation, and life’s journeys.

In this lush and poignant response to themes presented in Jack Kerouac’s classic narrative On The Road, author Peter Anderson contemplates life while capturing the beauty, change, and paradox of the American landscape, being on the road, and reaching your destination.

Anderson is not new to being on the road. In fact, he writes that “my people have been restless for a few generations now.” It is through these experienced eyes that he observes the vividness of the landscape around him that can be at once peaceful and meditative and also disturbing as it conjures soul-searching emotions: “the wind finds the cracks in your caulking….”

With fresh and powerful descriptions, Anderson’s vignettes portray the people, the communities that he experiences with tender humor–as seen in the personal ads in the chapter entitled “The Great Divide’s Lonely Hearts.” Anderson’s voice is contemplative, and the tone of the narrative is meditative and reminiscent of Walt Whitman’s ode to nature Leaves of Grass. The language is simple and succinct, making the imagery and description all the more powerful as they convey the flux of life: “this water, these rocks take their own fine time….”

Anderson not only chronicles his physical journeys but also the spiritual journey of life and how time has changed him and his perceptions of wandering, going home, and staying put. Although he confesses to having passed what he calls “the wandering gene” to his children, he acknowledges that he now he looks forward to round-trips, too–ending his journey at the same place he began it. He reflects upon the influence that his wife’s clan–“almost seventy years on the same piece of ground”–may have on the children, perhaps even holding sway over his, so that they can experience the joy of being on the road but also so they can go home. In a musing addressed to “Jack,” the author acknowledges that “my travels are all round-trips these days, Jack Kerouac. I’ve given up anywhere for somewhere, which strikes me now as a fair trade.”

Heading Home: Field Notes is a rich affirmation of the rhythms of life and its journeys that convey a bounty of observations and imagery that is insightful, refreshing, and beautifully haunting.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 90 pages
Publisher Conundrum Press
Publish Date 2017-May-31
ISBN 9781942280217
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue May 2017
Category Travel


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