The Road Trip: Day 7

Posted: August 3, 2016 by timjollymore in Uncategorized

Where in tarnation is Wall Drug? (click the image)

RT FieldI’m driving no where near the place, but that doesn’t mean I don’t run into the signs. This one is on I 29 in Iowa. Cool. Check out the profile. Not my ride, but certainly my nose and tail.

How do you know you are finally in the Midwest rather than the West?

I expect a woman in a print dress to come momentarily to the front door, walk onto the covered porch, wiping her hands on a dishtowel. “Everybody needs a good dish towel,” she says and waves to me as I pass.

Richard Cohen, the well read author of How to Write Like Tolstoy tells us how famous writers agonize over getting the right name for their characters. Raskolnikov, Fanny Bryce, Uriah Heep, Bilbo Baggins, et. al. 7 eI began wondering if I should change some names to make my characters more compelling. “No,” I said, “make the characters fully and worry less about the name.” Still, you’ll be meeting Muckey D, Toady, and Moe in the next thing.  Whatever happened to Romeo’s ruminations on names? Then there is Jake Barnes, Ada (Cold Mountain), and Jane. All quite entertaining, from the perspective of the road. I like “Tatty,” “Paul Tuomi” (named after Paul in Sons and Lovers), and “Finn” who without the “Pykkonen” would be just another campy guy.

I paid a final call on Hill Avenue Books in Spirit Lake, Iowa.  Rachel Tinker smiled broadly as she told me her plans, graduate study followed by a year in (here’s the smile) in Prague. If survival in the book business is lasting, Rachel succeeded. Hill Avenue BookThe sadness isn’t the passing of this long time bookstore, that is already sad, but the emptiness an erstwhile reader feels having pulled up to the store that had so long delivered pure pleasure and power through story.

Farewell Rachel. Farewell Hill Avenue Books. Farewell readers.

As for me? I sought out other survivors along my route in Iowa. But that is a story for another day.

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