Visa bills, nectarines, and bituminous concrete


I don’t know if you’ve ever worked nights before. If you have, you know what I mean when I say my brain feels like cottage cheese a good portion of the week; namely during the day, when Cottage Cheese Brain is exactly what I don’t need. Important phone calls are not returned, car maintainence appointments are forgotten, and toenails frequently go unclipped for weeks at a time. In short my life, like my panty hose, is coming apart at the seams. The toe seams.

To combat this trend, last night I made a decision that goes against my nature. I decided to make a list. Not the kind that reminds me of all the bad things I’ve done that need to be set straight. No, the kind that reminds me of all of the necessary things I keep forgetting to do so I can keep my life straight. For example:

– Pay your Visa bill, you idiot!!!!!! It was due last Thursday!!!!!! Late fees!!!! Ack!!!!!

– There’s a bag of nectarines in the back of the crisper. It’s been there forever. Throw it way.

– You finished Adrift in America last week. You forgot to blog about it.

Now that my overdue Visa bill and soupy nectarines have been taken care of, it’s time to tell you guys about Sid Leavitt’s Adrift in America, a “diary of a minimalist mariner.”

In the late 1980s, Mr. Leavitt–having been unceremoniously let go from his editor’s job at a Portland, Maine newsaper–sold his house and most of his belongings, bought a truck, and set off to see America. It wasn’t wanderlust that inspired him…at least not mostly. He hit the road because he wanted to live deliberately; to live frugally and suck out all the bituminous concrete of life. He was looking for freedom, too, the kind that meant “being able to say ‘Fuck you’ to your boss and be out of town 10 minutes later with everything you own.” Oh, to know such freedom! But what I love most about this book is that we get a glimpse of everyday America. Not the touristy, post card America; but real towns with real people. The ones we overlook when we’re on vacation.

So check it out. It’s posted at Readers and Writers Blog, here by chapters and here in its entirety.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go clip my toenails.

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About R.J. Keller

R. J. Keller is the author of Waiting For Spring. An avid independent movie enthusiast, she was Managing Editor of The Movie Fanatic website and created episodes of the writer-centric YouTube series, Inside The Writers' Studio, with author Kristen Tsetsi. She co-hosted Book Chatter with Stacey Cochran from 2011-2014. She lives in Central Maine with her family, where she enjoys gardening, collecting geeky memorabilia, and watching other people cook. View all posts by R.J. Keller

9 responses to “Visa bills, nectarines, and bituminous concrete

  • ? Writer ? Reading ?

    Bituminous. Now that’s a word I can’t pronounce, or decipher at 1:30 AM with a migraine so I’ll have to look it up tomorrow. Readers and Writers Blog: never heard of it? A place to publish your books on line? Intriguing. Also, lists, I gave them up. But in my new desire to read books more than blogs, I of course made a reading list…at the bottom of my blogroll. Lists always do me in. I will usually do anything BUT what is on the list. Hoping this is an exception. You can come over and see it at the next Mary Kay meeting.

  • Zoe Winters

    heh when do you sleep? I know what you mean about the night shift. I used to work third shift and sometimes I still get stuck on Vampire Central Time.

  • Sid Leavitt

    Well, the truck is gone, the book is out of print, but the memories live on.

    Thanks for reading Adrift in America, and thanks for the kind words. They’re especially welcome from someone whose writing I admire.

  • bunnygirl

    I spent many years in the restaurant business and there were a lot of late nights that turned into early mornings, then driving home as the sun came up. Even though there were just as many hours in the day as there ever were, it was somehow nearly impossible to get anything done during the day when I worked nights.

    Adrift in America sounds interesting. I’ve always wanted to do something like that, even when I was just a kid. When push comes to shove, though, my Capricorn traits always take over and I go back to a regular job with a consistent paycheck. *sigh*

    If the economy doesn’t tank my state’s retirement system, I should be able to retire on pension in another 13 years, so maybe then I can go live a life of carefree adventure. With a monthly paycheck. 🙂

  • Kisses

    Love the My Name is Earl reference. Thank you for the laugh – yet again, and the reward! I’m still blushing!

  • Kisses

    PS – Great to hear there’s a new Luke Davies book – off to the library! (I was sorry to finish Candy, but am still looking forward to seeing the movie.)

  • jenniferw

    I’ll happily read anything Sid writes and anything you write, luvvy. Even — or is it especially? — your “To Do” lists.

  • Edie

    I just went over to Readers and Writers blog and started writing. Wow! Excellent writing. I will definitely go back and read all of it.

    Thanks for telling us about it.

  • Kit Courteney

    I totally love your way with words!!

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