Michael Pollan on Mary Laura Philpott’s “What I’ve Learned From 28 Brilliant Creators” says “Eating on the road is always tough. Airports are the worst. If I absolutely have to eat at an airport, I’ll seek out the burrito place and have a rice and beans burrito.”
I, uh, have never been on tour. I have not had a single book club, bookstore, or library ask me to do a reading or to talk about the heavy importance of comma splices. I have not even blog-toured or done a guest post anywhere. But when I read Pollan’s thoughts, I thought right on man, right on. Burritos are AMAZING.
When we moved from Wyoming to New Hampshire, and you can see the map here, each red dot represents at least McDonald’s if not also in conjunction with a hotel or hanging out with family.
Except the dot in Kansas. I mean, normally, I would have went through I-80 and hit Nebraska and Iowa, but I forced the family to stop at Wamego, which is like the most Americana Americanist American place in America and plus it has the Oz Museum that holds the official death certificate of the Wicked Witch. I get a little bit crazy when it comes to Oz, and besides we ate at Toto’s Tacoz, which if we were anywhere else in the U.S. and saw that kind of restaurant décor, I would have walked straight away out.
But some of the best burritos ever!
We probably took longer to cross the country than we should have with a barbeque in Kentucky, a stop at King’s Island. That last stretch through Massachusetts and Boston was grueling, and we arrived at our new home at 4 in the morning, parked the car in the driveway and slept until the landlady arrived with the key at 9. I haven’t eaten McDonald’s since that trip. I’m not sure if I’ll ever again. I am McDonalded out—and not a reflection of the company or the food, just too much of it all at once.
In the summer after my first year of grad school, I was given the task to read minimum forty-five books, a mix of novels and literary theory. When I was done compiling my to-read list, I had about eighty books, and got through about seventy of them. The university had given me office space, and I settled back in a comfy chair, new socks, a pot of coffee, and the pile of books. I read eight, nine hours straight. And talk about massive headaches. About half way through the summer, the graduate student coordinator told me to drink more water.
Often, my students will pull all-nighters on their essays. I advise against this behavior, but I also understand and sympathize. They have so much going on—family, jobs, friends, health issues, other classes besides mine. They’re not writing, in their minds, anything creative—not short stories, poems, or novels—but straight up academic essays. It’s difficult sometimes to in the process of the class to get them to realize what they have to say is of worth, and the very nature of writing is the act of creation. By the end of the semester though, they have this pretty much figured out. But in the middle, in the drive across the country to get where you’re going, wear new socks, drink plenty of water, and stop occasionally to eat a good burrito.