RIMERSBURG – Clarion County and surrounding areas serve as featured backdrops for the first non-fiction book penned by Rimersburg native David Drayer.
The book, “Wayward Son: Travels and Reflections,” is a collection of Drayer’s newspaper columns — which originally appeared in The Leader-Vindicator as “Tales of a Wayward Son” from 2015 to 2017 — and entries from his travel blog which highlight his weekend motorcycle trips around the country and the challenges of readjusting to the small-town life of his hometown after nearly 30 years of living in the city.
Drayer said last week that going back to his small-town roots after three decades was a bit of culture shock, but The Leader-Vindicator articles provided some much needed catharsis and reflection.
“Sharing my motorcycle trips and especially writing the newspaper columns helped me to reconnect with the folks back home,” he said in a recent press release. “It made my day when someone stopped me in town to say one of my articles made them laugh out loud or inspired them to take a road trip or check something off of their bucket list.”
Having already established himself as a fiction writer, with earlier works including “Strip Cuts,” “A Noble Story” and “Something Fierce,” Drayer decided just over a year ago that the time was right to try his hand at non-fiction.
Explaining the origin of “Wayward Son,” he said that the idea originated from a series of impromptu weekend motorcycle trips that he took during his time living in Washington, D.C. In order to tame the Monday-after-a-trip curiosities of his co-workers at the time, Drayer started recounting his travels in his own blog, “Drayer’s Notebook,” which eventually led him back to his hometown of Rimersburg where he soon picked up a column writing gig at The Leader-Vindicator.
He enjoyed writing the short pieces that covered a wide range of topics, and thought they might fit together well in the publication of a non-fiction book — a process which he found to be both time consuming and fun.
Although many of the pieces featured in the book were already written, Drayer said they still required some “cleaning up,” and he had to be sure that they fit together in just the right way.
“It was nice to not have to sit with just one subject,” Drayer said of his experience with non-fiction writing, noting that this book also marks the first time he’s dealt with in-text pictures, featuring the scenery and landmarks on several of his motorcycle trips.
While putting the book together was harder than he initially thought, Drayer said he was very happy with the end result.
“I hope the book sparks conversations,” Drayer said, explaining that “Wayward Son” not only takes readers with him on his many trips, but invites them to experience his many adventures like working as an extra in Hollywood, washing dishes in the Hamptons, competing with a dog for a woman’s affections in D.C. and hiking in Clarion County. “Anybody can pick it up and get a charge out of it.”
When asked if there was a trip or adventure he would list as his favorite, Drayer said it was really hard to pick just one.
“The trips were all different and I never knew what was coming,” he said, adding that some of his adventures ended up being better than any work of fiction he might write.
Drayer hopes that chronicling his own adventures will encourage readers to “think about what really matters in life, ponder peculiar nicknames, visit a long-lost relative, take a road trip or follow a dream.”
Launched at the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh, “Wayward Son” can be purchased at Eccles-Lesher Memorial Library in Rimersburg, The Leader-Vindicator office in New Bethlehem and Runyan Computers between Rimersburg and Sligo for $15. It is also available online at Amazon.com.
For more information on “Wayward Son” or any of Drayer’s novels, visit daviddrayer.com. Libraries, book stores and book clubs interested in setting up an author reading, signing or other event can leave a message on the website, or call (631) 873-7875.