The Unknown: The Red Line.

So now it was the three of us driving to Seattle. Our book tour. We had seen an opportunity and we had made it ours. We had built a literature, crammed it into a van, and we were heading for the Rockies. Laptop in lap, writing our third Unknown anthology—our anthology of travel memoirs, written on the tour of the first two books: The Unknown anthology, and Criticism of The Unknown, a book of essays written by us about our first book. Technological advances had cut out the middleman between writer and readers—in effect eliminating the whole publishing industry. We were a celebration of that. And we were in a van looking for a campgound. I was in the back asleep dreaming of our fourth Unknown anthology: the Unknown Cookbook.

But there had been a flat tire. I sat up and stared at an American landscape we had not yet named, as the car wobbled to rest beside the road.

Dirk had been driving while Scott typed. I had fallen alseep in the middle of a hallucination and was unsure what was. “Where are we?” I asked. “I don’t know,” said Dirk. “I know,” said Scott, typing. But he wouldn’t tell us. I climbed out of the back of the car and looked around.

I realized that the tire needed to be changed and that the three of us, collectively, being academic professionals (not to mention the Hope of America), working together with the blaze of charisma and virtuosity that had so captivated our reading public, didn’t know how to change a tire.

And the irony of this, it seemed then, against that mountainscape, invited us to drink and to write volumes. So on that deserted road with that sunset and that flat tire, we took turns writing on Scott’s laptop. And we wrote so well that nobody would ever again need Homer.

Audio Button
Read 4/20/99
at Illinois State University
355K RealAudio Clip

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