“You can romanticize America and you can romanticize leaving but you can’t romanticize the Kansas City Greyhound.” – Friends, Get Wayward, page 16
I recently discovered (late to the game) Pioneers Press and Adam Gnade’s books and zines in particular. Reading Adam’s writings on depression and mental health and creating art in spite of life’s shit felt like finding a clean, warm, well-lighted room to sit down in and shake the rain off.
I read his 2014 booklet Friends, Get Wayward while on a recent road trip to the upper peninsula of Michigan. My sister just turned forty, and the Edmund Fitzgerald sank 40 years ago this month, so we met up in a tiny little town with our partners and drank and poured some beer into the lake for the lost sailors and watched stars brighter than the face of a child and didn’t get near enough sleep. I read this booklet about Adam’s travels around America and reflected on my own. I need more late nights in towns I’ll never see again. Somehow we settle down too much when we become adults–or I did–and if the change takes we become less ourselves. We have to trespass to stage improvised memorial services on breakwater piers late at night. We have to stay up too late and laugh till it hurts and then stare at the ceiling while everyone else sleeps till that hurts too. We have to refuse the sick, toxic dream of maturing into foot soldiers for the cause of middle-class safety and security. We have to get wayward.
“Mexican breakfast in the Las Vegas airport. ‘Nevada’ means ‘snow-capped in Spanish. I like that. It’s pretty. Pretty like the desert hills you see flying in. Pretty like the lake by the runway and all the tall, ice-blond flight attendants who look at you like you’re drooling mustard and cat blood and seaweed. You know what isn’t pretty? Las Vegas, the Las Vegas airport, everything about Las Vegas.” – Friends, Get Wayward, page 8
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