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A Road Novel Runs Into Addiction Lit

on the rails my writing in progress

Inspired by my brother, On the Rails tells the story of Cowboy—a young man, full of agitation and wanderlust—who leaves behind his turbulent childhood to ride freight trains across the country in the 1980s and 90s.

His travels satisfy a thirst for adventure and take him from his small Midwestern town to cities and drug hotels, rail yards and hobo camps, but it's on his first train rides, in the natural beauty he hurtles through, where he discovers freedom and peace. Eventually, swayed by depression and drink, he finds himself in rehab, prison, or on the run. 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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