I am traveling, which is fun, surprising, frustrating, pleasant, extremely unpleasant, invigorating, exhausting, a privilege, a self-inflicted curse, the whole gamut. While I’ve been gadding about, through the miracle of modern communication systems, I’ve received word that although not a winner, I was a finalist in a contest, and also received two more outright rejections for my work. And so it goes, says the narrator watching the journey of Billy Pilgrim. I often, in the grim thick of it, wonder why I travel, and why I try to get my work published. I can’t explain either, except for some complex cocktail of ego, hubris, drive, curiosity, and this need to connect, perhaps. We sat by a tidal river in a funky little place that was playing Steely Dan, BB King, Supertramp, and ate crustaceans that we don’t usually eat, bristling with claws and exoskeleton, toasting Anthony Bourdain’s memory. We left hungry but feeling like we’d accomplished a small thing, as I felt when I heard of my finalist spot. Staying home is nice too. Not doing the research required to send work out, not girding the loins for the inevitable rejections, just either doing the writing or doing something else entirely — that’s nice too. But before long I start listening keenly to others’ tales, pore over maps, surf the Poets &Writers deadline pages, pack my bags and set out. Again and again. That’s the only Way.