There are two identical beds in my room, and a large picture window opening onto a view of a stagnant reservoir set snug in the soft brown hills. A few miles down the road there is the mother of all potato manufactories; piles and piles of dull russet things tumbling everwhere day and night, piles higher than grain elevators, acres of them in the open night air.
The road to my motel is a winding gravel affair, beset on both sides with abandoned semi's and derelict 24-hour greasy-spoon cafes. But inside, the motel is pristine, its Jackie chic vacuum-sealed since the Cuban missile crisis, soft pinks and faux-wood paneling, bare light bulbs and mod-ish curves and angles everywhere. Shiny, shiny.
The name of this strange, strange place: American Falls.
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Today I performed and taught some workshops and generally squeezed out every spare ounce of energy with my puppets (damn things keep busting all over the place) and these kids. Lord, these kids, each of them bursting with the energy of a thousand suns, chaos theory incarnate, flesh and blood distillations of the passions and ambitions of generations of toil and rural sensibilities and migrants in the night, brought forth to torment and delight and provoke and endear the likes of me. I talked about Live Theatre and How to Make Your Puppet Live ("It's ALIIIIIIVE!!!") and such like.
Sample questions from Mrs. S's 5th Grade Class:
- "How did, um, the, uh. The one, where, uh. ...?"
- "Are you married?"
Every direction you look, rippling formations of birds are popping over the horizon, slender V's gingerly groping through the sharp October air, like so many frail ribbons in the breeze. It looks like so much courage, and so little in the face of mountains and hunters and exhaust fumes. But there they are, peeling off from some tired little marshland, stripping away like leaves from the trees, little more than dustclouds in the setting sun. I want to be a goose when I grow up. A silly, silly goose.
Reading: "Henry Adams and the Making of America" by Garry Wills; "The Divorce" by C.S. Lewis; "Go Down, Moses" by William Faulkner. Listening to: Jack Johnson, The Blues Scholars, The Four Tops, Vetiver, Liz Phair, Kanye West, Lucinda Williams. Eating: Mandarin Chicken and Spanish Chow Mein(?). Missing: The Hottie at Home.
reporting live from the interstate,