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A Road Novel Runs Into Addiction Lit

on the rails my writing in progress

On the Rails tells the story of Cowboy—inspired by my rebellious and charismatic brother—who at twenty, living in a drug motel and dodging cops, full of agitation and wanderlust, begins riding freight trains, seeking freedom and adventure but mostly finding despair and depression, alcohol and addiction.

Spanning the 1980s and 90s, his travels satisfy a thirst to see the country and take him from his small Midwestern town to cities and crime, rail yards and hobo camps. Swayed by drink, he finds himself either on the run, in rehab, or in prison. After years of this uncertain life, he hops a train toward the Chickasaw Nation in Ada, Oklahoma—where he is an enrolled, though disconnected, citizen—uncertain what lies ahead and if he will find hope or hell, life or death.

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“When he finally went home, it’d be with stories of life hopping trains, like in a Bruce Springsteen or George Strait song. Maybe he was meant to be out here, on the rails, out of the cities, seeing the countryside and sleeping under the stars, an outlaw and a hobo.”

excerpt from On the Rails

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