Monday, February 19, 2007

on I90

One of my all-time favorite books is Walk Two Moons. It's an adolescent novel by Sharon Creech. It was in the Sonlight Curriculum for ninth grade and I read it in Slovakia when Laurel did. It was so good. I distinctly remember lying on my dusty, old, over-stuffed couch in my living room while the girls breaked for lunch. But I couldn't stop reading.

The thing that is fascinating about it is that it holds several stories in one. And slowly they are brought together and missing pieces of each one begin to make sense. So it is sort of like a mystery which draws you in further with each chapter.

I love it because I love the way Creech uses langauge. She says things in unexpected ways, and I can hear the voice of the characters loud and clear in my head. This is probably why I love reading it aloud so much. I've read it aloud to my students each year since, which means I've read it aloud going on 5 times (since I had 2 classes 2 of the 3 years).

But the thing that really strikes me about it is how many deep issues Creech brings up. It's not one of those typical teen books trying to relate to kids of the least it doesn't come across like that to me. It's just that the characters struggle with things that we all resonate with, and there is so much packed in, layer over layer.

Sal and her grandparents are on a road trip across I90 from Ohio to Idaho, and Courtney and I drove the same road this summer. We traveled to nearly all of the places that they stopped, in reverse. I had planned to read it aloud to her too, but we ended up listening to Dylan's Chronicles on cd. Sean Penn's voice took us through Montana.

Speaking of I90, there is another band that I like that few know about. It is called the Singing Mechanic, and I think he's fabulous. (He's a mechanic, and he sings. Not sure if he's still around, but I think so - I think he's put out by Asthmatic Kitty too). Fabulous because he plays the piano, which I love. And because it's funny, a lot of it, to me. There is one song I love the most, and I've always wished it to be true about me, so I could sing it out with my whole heart. So, it was on my road-trip cd, and I was thrilled when Courtney got the whole thing stuck in her brain too:

been to the west coast
been to the east coast
coasting is the Best Fun of my Life

driving down the highway
doing things my way
no one knows the --- for my life.*

now i feel that i'm improving
not as fast as this car is moving
my life's never been this good before

driving 'cross the country
movin' past the fun tree
Boston city is comin' up real slow

down on 90,
goin' 85
down on 90,
i feel alive.

have you dug wall drug
have you played the banjo
a six-foot bunny was about all I can stand

now i feel that i'm improving
not as fast as this car is moving
my life's never been this good before

saw a weary diner,
breakfast can't be finer
boston city is coming up real slow

the trip has been a long one.
it's just what we do for fun

Down on 90.

*don't know all the lyrics...
still to this day when I see my WALL DRUG sticker, the song comes to my head. And yup, we saw the 6-foot bunny and played the banjo. Had 5-cent coffee and free ice water too. But mostly we drove 90. and felt alive.


Anonymous said...

How about another post, Kate?

Carol said...

I think that would be a good activity.

Carol said...

You piqued my interest. Mother borrowed Walk Two Moons from the library and I read it today. What a wonderful book!