Ithaca is not autobiographical. It’s a tapestry of people I have known, books and songs that have inspired me, and (most of all) the places I love. It is as an ode to the flyover states–the empty spaces, the derelict towns, and the unexpectedly beautiful things that thrive there.
Anybody who talks to me about traveling knows my personal meditation spot: Highway 96 from Great Bend, KS to Westcliffe, CO. My mother’s ashes are scattered on a mountaintop overlooking Westcliffe, and I try to visit every few years to pay my respects. I’ve driven 96 alone several times. Its stark beauty and utter solitude are good for thinking and storytelling. I’ve written many stories in my head while staring out my windshield at the vast, flat fields and the tall banks of clouds.