Bridge, ocean.Posted: November 16, 2011
In January of 2007, I was sitting in a window seat on a plane to New York. My carry-on reading was the latest issue of Tricycle. As I remember it, I was skimming a poem where the words “bridge” and “ocean” were juxtaposed. Immediately I had an image of a floating bridge that spanned the entire ocean, and one person, alone, walking on it.
Some ideas fade. But this one only got stronger. Characters and themes began to surface: a woman in Ethiopia, a woman in India, the nature of energy, the inheritance of violence, the fate of humankind. I won a fellowship to travel around the world to do research. I spent four months in Ethiopia, India, Fiji, Samoa and the Cook Islands. I got settled back in the States and started writing in April 2010. When I finally finished The Girl in the Road last night, it wasn’t the lighthearted travelogue I’d originally envisioned, but an epic of love, violence, solitude and communion; and in many ways that most readers will never know, my chronicle of ten years of my life.
Afterwards, to celebrate, I got out that old issue of Tricycle to find the spot where “bridge” and “ocean” had appeared together. I’ve looked through it three times. I haven’t been able to find it.