GO: Travel Writing from Texas to Tennessee


Tumbleweeds and traffic cones, roadside pumpkin stands and bloated roadkill, angry longhorns and exclamation-point-peppered billboards, endless roads and quickly-approaching tarmac, epic mountains and expansive prairies, pastoral mid-western bedroom communities and austere west Texas ghost towns … this is what made up the better half of my September through November.

While my folks and friends at home enjoyed an indian summer that languidly turned itself over into a warm and amber-colored fall, I was out traveling for what seemed like forever, caught in a perpetual state of  62 and sunny. First in west Texas out to Big Bend and back to El Paso, and then across the Midwest all the way out to Wyoming. There was so much to-ing and fro-ing that there wasn’t really an opportunity for digesting — that is the, the writing down of all that had happened.

However, there were a lot of photos taken, a lot of people met, a handful of stories so human and interesting that someone should really write them down and document them visually; if only to simply say — ‘THIS. This was HERE.”

There is a quote I often think of when taking a photo, or writing something simply because I feel compelled to do so, and often pops into my head before clicking the shutter or putting fingers to keyboard.

“One might compare the art of photography to the act of pointing. It must be true that some of us point to more interesting facts, events, circumstances, and configurations than others. [...] The talented practitioner of the new discipline would perform with a special grace, sense of timing, narrative sweep, and wit, thus endowing the act not merely with intelligence, but with that quality of formal rigor that identifies a work of art, so that we would be uncertain, when remembering the adventure of the tour, how much our pleasure and sense of enlargement had come from the things pointed to and how much from a pattern created by the pointer.”

I like this comparison of photography to pointing, and think the same pointing comparison can be made with the act of writing. A novice writer, a joke photographer — I don’t ever try to evoke anything with a photo I take or a note I write. The process is much more egoless. Something IS and because something IS it is IMPORTANT and therefore, an attempt to document must be made - however silly or juvenile the result. The young photographer or fake writer, a novice to both mediums, should aim merely to act as a conduit. A pointer and sharer of uniquely human stories — be they either visual or written.