All posts tagged: iowa city

My Process: Write into the Heartland

Two clicks southwest of Iowa City: Past the neon BILLION sign that stakes the auto dealer’s bumper crop, past the blue-lit plains of the muni airport, shimmering from atmosphere, lies an aortic tangle of country roads all leading to the Heartland. Heartland is made of grain silos and metal threshers; it’s made of steakhouses archly planted behind cow pens, Tyson Foods smokestacks and the rubber-and-rot smell of boiled blood. See the cavity-molar gravestones lined alongside gravel roads, under which entire family lines are buried. See the deer standing in harrowed paths, hooves in the dirt-clod grooves of fields fallow and waiting. See? The richness of this place, this state of Iowa. In a minivan you blur past 60 over gravel. The undercarriage is a tin-can wind-chime trying to survive the rattle. You can hear, even at deafening speed, the xylophonic notes of “Stephanie Says”. You do that thing that passengers do: Clutch your seatbelt, hold a fist over your chest, feel the familiar knot rising in your ribcage, the cresting heart obvious now, beaming and …