Happy Thanksgiving from Danny, The Rotational

What is it about traveling that makes for great inspiration? So many of our great formative stories include some sort of physical travel from one geographical location to another: THE ODYSSEY, CATCHER IN THE RYE, SONG OF SOLOMON, etc. Part of it, I imagine, is that travel gives us license to romanticize.

I'm thinking now on it because I'm traveling home to Delaware tomorrow night for Thanksgiving, imaging all the fun that I'll be having when I get there. Surely my buddy John and I will have time to play some jams in my garage, or my Uncle David will have some amazing stories about his recent trip to Nepal. But, of course, the pessimist in me sometimes imagines the opposite, sees my trip home replete with the acrid smell of Aunt Lillian's fig casserole.

This will be my first time home for an extended period since I moved to New York in June. It will be great to see my dog, Duncan, and my family. Plus, Thanksgiving is always the best meal of the year, which is very signficant because I'm awful at cooking for myself.

I currently live in the East Village in Manhattan, and I started at HarperCollins last month as a Rotational Associate. It's a pretty sweet gig--you get to work in each of Harper's departments during the year and see which one suits you best. I am currently in William Morrow's editorial department, assisting Lyssa and having a great time! Who would have ever thought I'd get to read manuscripts for a job? Everyone here is ridiculously smart and very passionate about literature, which makes HarperCollins the perfect place to work, since I have always loved books.

Wednesday will be the first day I'm taking off since I started working 6 months ago. I'm happy that I don't have to travel home on a plane and that I can take the bus instead. I'm leaving right after work, around rush hour. While there's bound to be traffic, I still think it's the best time to travel.

There's something synergistic about being on the bus at the end of the day with everyone going to the same place--everyone tired and a little bit sleepy, but comfortable with each other, knowing that we all have an association with the place we're headed. For me, this place is Philadelphia.

I've never been great at reading while I travel. For one, I get completely sick staring at book pages for too long. Secondly, I like to stare out the window. When the bus or train speeds up, I think about this passage from Denis Johnson's JESUS' SON:

"I liked to sit up front and ride the fast ones all day long. I liked it when they brushed right up against the buildings north of the Loop and I especially liked it when the buildings dropped away into that bombed-out squalor a little farther north in which people (through windows you'd see a person in his dirty naked kitchen spooning soup toward his face, or twelve children on their bellies on the floor, watching television, but instantly were gone, wiped away by a movie billboard of a woman winking and touching her upper lip deftly with her tongue, and she in turn erased by a--wham, the noise and dark dropped around your head--tunnel) actually lived."

I think this is one of the best run-on sentences I've read since I had to read Henry James for a Victorian literature class. HarperPerennial published JESUS' SON in a small paperback version a couple years ago and it's definitely a great one to pick up and carry around when you travel (so long as you don't get sick like me).


Blogger Erika said:

Happy travels, Danny! I'm a train girl myself. Reading on a bus makes me nauseous but the train -- whether it's Amtrak, LIRR or subway -- is just fine.

4:37 PM  

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