If you can’t write, research.
This summer I stuffed my car full of peanut butter, kidnapped my friend Tess from Philadelphia, and drove to northwest Kansas in order to live in a Super8 for 5 days and eat terrible salads at the local restaurants.
Along the way I choked on a brisket and onion ring sandwich, participated in the western tradition of rodeo spectating, stared into a freezer full of rattlesnakes, learned the art of “mutton busting,” and got a bad case of trucker arm.
In Oberlin, KS (pop. 1,200 more or less), I met up with local reporter Ladd Wendelin. He kindly gave me and Tess the grand tour of abandoned towns and homesteads, as well as interviewing me for a feature in the paper.
This is that feature. Ladd was too kind and insisted on calling me an “author” even though I protested that I was really just a student. I guess “New York student explores county” doesn’t have the same ring of pretentiousness to it.
I didn’t get too much writing done, but I like to think I made up for it with experience. Sitting at my desk plodding away at my thesis can’t really compare to watching a grown man try to stay atop a seriously pissed off bull for 8 seconds.