Ed's Blues

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Drifting

 Travel is one of the motor forces of my writing. The things that challenge me, please me, irritate me about new places also provide the fodder for stories and just thinking about how humans tick. I find it fun to watch other people and see how they respond to new things, but what they do and how they do it only makes sense if I've already paid attention to my own response. I need to know a bit about what they are reacting to.
The top picture I took in Kampot, Cambodia about 14 months ago. It looks pretty tranquil. When it isn't wedding season, or a mjor holiday (of which there are many) it is pretty tranquil. In some ways, it is a great place to write. Humid and hot but with many wonderful qualities. And beer is cheap, which is usually a good thing.


The picture on the left I took in Nevada about one year ago. It has a different kind of tranquility (once you are out of the middle of the road). I could feel a certain desolate peace and a wide open beauty. Beer isn't cheap here. In fact I'm not sure how many miles you'd have to travel to find a cold one. Always travel prepared.

The important thing in looking at these two photos is that they both represent peace and tranquility, but the experiences are so radically different.

I'm often asked what places I like best. The problem with giving an honest answer is that places are changing fast. A place I've been to a few years ago isn't the place I'd be if I landed there tomorrow. Coming back to the US we found a different place than we left. Silver City is hurting from the economic situation (nice word, situation. A wonderful euphemism, but I don't think we are allowed to be honest and say depression.). That makes it more tranquil, although for many that is a poor substitute for a boom time with lots of jobs and food.

I couldn't change the places I visit or even live in for long, even if I wanted to. As an outsider, I can't even offer intelligent or reasonable opinions on what is right or wrong for a people or their place. I try to travel responsibly, helping local (not chain) businesses when possible and not being any more intrusive or annoying than a traveler naturally is. So I stick to observing, and casting my thoughts and observations into stories.

So now I'll get back to writing them.


Fair winds.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Dreams and hopes



In learning to produce my own books I've done a lot to try an improve the covers. Part of the learning process has involved finding the kinds of images that resonate with me. In the process I've discovered (probably tangentially) that I have a fascination with old buildings. The ones that have been abandoned, left to weather and entropy, are the most interesting.


I've decided I'm drawn to these buildings as symbols of dreams. Sometime in the past, someone built these places, or had them built, and they must've had a vision of a life in them, or perhaps a dream of a prosperous business. Now they look like failed dreams, but I'm not sure they are. Perhaps the dreamers lived a long and happy life, enjoying the building and it was later inhabitants who let the buildings go. Or perhaps tragedy struck.

I've decided that the attraction of these places is the way they function as symbols of the hopes and dreams of people I'll never know. Sometime in the past, someone built these places, or had them built, and they must've had a vision of a life in them, or perhaps a dream of a prosperous business. Now they look like failed dreams, but I'm not sure they are. Perhaps the dreamers lived a long and happy life, enjoying the building and it was later inhabitants who let the buildings go. Or perhaps tragedy struck.

As a writer, I can't help but imagine the stories. Of course, the stories I hear in my head aren't the real stories, but ones I am making up. But that's what a writer does--make shit up. 

I took this set of photos in rural New Mexico. Several are from small mining towns in the Silver City area, where the Santa Rita and Tyrone mines have a long history of being driving forces in the local economy. Unfortunately, mining is a boom and bust proposition, which likely means more dreams and more failures than in other places. The boom and bust provide the attraction and the potential for tragedy/ The dreams had to be phenomenal...of wealth, of even better buildings for growing families. And a bust time meant few had the money to take over properties that had been abandoned. By the time the next boom arrived, brought on by a rise in copper prices, it was time for new buildings and new dreams. The old ones aren't fixed. Why live in the shell of a ruined life when the future beckons?



So my interest isn't nostalgic. I don't want to repair these dreams and move in, but to feel them, they way their dreamers manifested them in wood and concrete.

Hey, everyone needs a hobby.