Brian Spears

Poet, Editor, Teacher, Blogger.


One of the tabs currently open in my web browser is a Google map of the quickest driving route from Waveland, Mississippi to Missoula, Montana. Sometime on Monday, my daughter and her best friend will begin their great adventure, driving interstate highways and US routes and toll roads and who knows what else on their way to a place I’ve never seen.

I’m jealous, honestly. When I was her age–just over two months short of 20–I was a full-time minister holding down a full-time job as assistant manager of a local fast food chicken restaurant. My great adventure had been a road trip to Orlando to Disney World with my two best Witness friends at the time, and there were no great surprises on that trip. We’d planned out everything in advance, from route to hotel to what parts of which parks we’d see on the days we were there. We even went to a meeting at one of the local Kingdom Halls–we met up with a family we’d barely known when they lived in New Orleans and spent the evening with them. It was safe. We even (mostly) obeyed the speed limit.

I’ve never moved to a place where I didn’t have something waiting for me. I moved from Slidell to Hammond to get married, from Hammond to Fayetteville for grad school, from Fayetteville to San Francisco for the Stegner, and from San Francisco to Fort Lauderdale for Amy and her family. I’ve always had backup, always had connections. Brittany will have her friend–they’ve got an apartment waiting for them–some money she’s earned and saved to get started, and… That would scare the hell out of me, even now when I’m nearly 42. To go somewhere without even having a job waiting? Or a contact person? Madness.

I wish there was a way I could track her progress as she makes her way across the country. I’ve driven it a number of times, both alone and with Amy, though never through Montana. I’ll talk to her on the phone, no doubt, and I’ll be the great worrywart I always am when it comes to her safety. It’s what I do. But I haven’t discouraged her from doing this, and I won’t. I’m really proud of her for doing this, striking out to an unknown world with no idea what to expect. It’s something I may never do myself, though you never know.

Maybe that’s what kids are for, I mean besides just the continuation of the species thing. To inspire us, and perhaps to make us want to capture something we missed the first time around. I’m not ready to sell all my stuff, pack up Amy and the cats, and strike out for Bolivia or anything, but I am more interested in new forms of art and writing than I ever have been before, and I’m branching out in my reading as well. The things that have possessed me for the last ten years don’t grab me the same way now; I’m on the hunt for new demons, and maybe my daughter’s adventure will help me scare some up.


June 21, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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