“Roadways” epitomizes why I hope to always write nonfiction in addition to other genres. This piece is very much a heart cry, drafted in one sitting following the wrenching, personal experience of driving the last pickup truck my father would ever own away from him. There is a unique artistry in the poetic form and wonderful creative freedom possible only in fiction, but when I am telling you something that actually happened to me, I am gathering you into my life. I am nearly breathing for you. There is no replacement for personal experience as creative force. Nothing reads like the truth.
And nothing writes like the truth either. The memories “Roadways” replayed for me were full of vibrant details and sensory presence. My father, young and vibrant again, sitting behind the steering wheel of one of his beloved pickup trucks as we rode up and over the gentle, rolling roads of Central Pennsylvania taking in the scenery, singing along with the radio. Nothing had changed. When I was finished writing, my sadness had eased and there under my pen, a story as if woven by a magical spell ready to share.
VIRGINIA WATTS is the author of poetry and stories found in Illuminations, The Florida Review, CRAFT, Sunspot Literary Journal, Sky Island Journal, Permafrost Magazine, Bacopa Literary Review, Wisconsin Review, Dark Lane Anthology Series among others. Winner of the 2019 Florida Review Meek Award in nonfiction and nominee for Best of the Net Nonfiction 2019 and 2020, two of her poetry chapbooks are upcoming for publication by The Moonstone Press and a short story collection from The Devil’s Party Press in spring 2023. She has been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize.