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Heading Home: Field Notes

Heading Home begins with Peter Anderson's dharma-bum passion for the road, which leads him through the mountains and deserts of thr American West, and eventually lands him in an eccentric end-of-the-road town fill of mystics, misfits, and mountain dwellers. This book is a gathering of "field notes"--observations, recollections, and stories along the way where home is understood as a work in progress and the way is a road that never ends.

Advance Praise for Heading Home:

Poetry, humor, wisdom, grace: these words best describe Heading Home. This book offers gorgeous meditations on traveling, the natural world, small towns, parenting, and the hidden treasures best noticed and described by a poet such as Anderson. Part cultural critic, part poet, part wanderer, Anderson is a funny, gentle guide, whether pondering the sorrows of loss, the joys of the seasons, or the cultural eccentricities of the modern day West. In the spirit of Thoreau, Dillard, and deBuys, this book took me on a thoughtful journey down roads of inquiry that deepened my own. I loved this book.
—Laura Pritchett, author of Stars Go Blue and Red Lightning

Peter Anderson is gracefully gifted at demonstrating how life’s most mundane occasions, lost on most of us, may loom vast in an awakened heart. Re-examining the roads he took years ago— influenced by Kerouac and straight shots of serendipity—Anderson concludes, “My travels are all round trips these days, Jack. I’ve given up anywhere for somewhere.” That “given up” does not signal surrender. And that “somewhere,” that edge “where settled meets wild,” is inhabited by quite a variety of characters, which he sketches with an exhilarating, understated compassion you’ll soon find yourself sharing. Every page of this marvelous book includes some glimpse, some hint, some touch that makes me feel better about being alive.
—William Pitt Root, poet, editor, author of Strange Angels

Peter Anderson’s poetic sensibilities shine through language that is precise and efficient. In Heading Home he balances levity and humor with insight and wisdom. Reading through these pages, one feels they are on the road with Anderson, exploring the vast, beautiful, and empty corners of the American West. When I reached the end of this journey I wanted to start all over again. This is by far one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.
—Iver Arnegard, author of Whip & Spur, Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Colorado State University-Pueblo.

“I’ve given up anywhere for somewhere,” writes Peter Anderson, and it’s our blessing that he did. Anderson is a listener, a watcher. With humor and curiosity, he guides us through some of Colorado’s less-sung landscapes, leading us through the seasons, across the highways, and into the more ineffable journeys of aging, parenting, loss and the rewards of committing to one place. I love this book.”
—Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, author of Even Now: Poems and Drawings and The Less I Have: Poems

Anderson is, and has always been, a prophet of place(s). The road, the night, the elements and the people he encounters all take communion at a table of memory, faith, hope and loss. These essays have about them a writer’s wit, a poet’s eye and a good man’s heart. They take us on journeys where you can feel the red dirt on your skin, hear the whoosh of passing big rigs, and hear the earth as it turns, mile upon mile toward our various human destinations. In Heading Home we find love and belonging after a life of searching.
—aaron a. abeyta, author of colcha and Rise, Do Not Be Afraid

Excerpts from Recent Reviews:


In Heading Home, field notes are more akin to poignant vignettes, setting Anderson apart as a master of poetic fiction. What is truly remarkable about Peter Anderson's writing is his ability pull the reader into the experience with him and then leave them deep in thought following the briefest scenes. In simple snapshots, he provides sharp observations of his surroundings. And whether those surroundings are people, places, or things, Anderson always manages to breathe life onto the page. Alert and meditative, Heading Home is a book that makes you want to reread every page and share each one with a friend. With every vignette, Anderson colors his writing with wit, contemplation, and care. He will turn the invasion of a killer raccoon into a noir crime scene and simultaneously ask you to appreciate the varying responses from his 8- and 12-year-old daughters. 


From a scripture-citing barista to Barbie dolls, readers can enter each vignette and expect to encounter bold characters and unique imagery because of Anderson's ability to see significance in the ordinary. "A dust devil whirls up from the south, leaving a thin film of red sand on the windshield. I could wash it all away, but it softens the bright light, so I let it be—this remnant of the wind made visible," Anderson writes in a piece titled "Espresso in Kayenta." These minute moments, like sand gathering on his windshield, make Anderson's work feel genuine, authentically representing one man's particular experience in the American West. Perhaps he was just stopping for coffee, but Anderson is attentive to the details of that stop that made it a significant memory. And it is with this cognizance that he is able to imprint that memory on his readers as well.


Equally remarkable is Anderson's powerful narrative voice, composed of swift wit and outstanding diction. "If the lower elevations called me now and then, it was only until the nightmares came: visions of après ski tights and fur jackets wandering the newly fern-barred streets of this ghost town turned resort," he states. Before readers can even begin to appreciate his subtle humor, Anderson is on to another vista (in this case, "the old cabin surrounded by an invasion of doublewides") or piece of quick wisdom. His writing is concise and rapid, keeping readers vigilant. This straightforward but clever voice enables Anderson to capture so much thought in such short passages.


This is the kind of book you pick up and finish reading before you've realized. Each field note brings new insights into the importance of little things, forcing readers to dive deeper and deeper into thought as the book continues. Rereading scenes is unavoidable, not because Anderson outwits his readers, but because each piece can be appreciated individually and then as part of a poetic compilation. This book left me feeling refreshed as a reader and covetous of Anderson's sharp observational eye.
 --Isabel McCarthy, Coal Hill Review

Heading Home: Field Notes by Peter Anderson is a collection that is like nothing I’ve read before, a book that explores the author’s consciousness and allows the reader to connect with him at his spiritual center. It is both entertaining and inspiring, mind-boggling, and romantic. I enjoyed every word, every line, and the powerful rhythms that come through the writing. I can’t help going back to some of the passages and re-reading them for the sheer beauty of the language.
--Romauld Dzemo, Manhattan Book Review

Wonderfully evocative in its phrasing, Heading Home holds the rare capacity for immersing readers in the ordinary and highlighting the extraordinary in every moment.... Think a wider-ranging version of the philosophical, evocative fly-fishing literary classic, A River Runs Through It. Heading Home has the same kind of feel for land, people and places in the West. It is a powerful cocktail of evocative, beautiful prose that is not to be missed by any who appreciate a literary voice from this part of the country. It is award-quality writing that should please readers who appreciated A River Runs Through It. Yes,it's that good. 
--D. Donovan, Senior Editor, Midwest Book Review