Thoughts after one journey and before another “Tell me,” she said, “why gringo women wear such ugly shoes.” She said it in Spanish, her tongue forming the precise syllables that I envied and still failed to produce after years of practice. Her name was Viviana, and she was my Spanish teacher. We were practicing my conversation… Continue reading I Need Conversational Practice
100-word stories inspired by the lyrics of David Berman Stealing someone else’s words has always been my favorite cure for writer’s block. The key is to steal like an artist (per Austin Kleon) and avoid copyright infringement. I hope I’ve done that here. The Silver Jews’s 1998 album American Waterhas long been one of my… Continue reading Inspiration Approaching Perfection
In Pedro Páramo, Juan Preciado travels to Comala to meet his father. Too much dust, too many ghosts in the superheated air to know what happens when he gets there. What’s real and what’s imagined? Does it matter? In The One Inside, Sam Shepard writes about himself, his tiny father, about winding roads crisscrossing the… Continue reading Road Trips Where No One’s Looking
Wanderlust is invading my dreams. The pandemic shelved six weeks on the Camino de Santiago, but the other night my mind decided to depart without me… The inn is far enough off the Camino de Santiago to be lightly visited, even at the height of the pilgrimage season, but that is to my advantage, for… Continue reading Why Is There a Denny’s on the Camino de Santiago?
Two double espressos on top of sleep deprivation have lodged my mind in a sweet spot where what I generally consider reality is heightened and blurred and unusually imbued with meaning. At this moment it seems to me the fog outside the grimy bus windows is the result of an atmosphere saturated with metaphor instead… Continue reading Coffee, Baseball, and Fear of Flying
Moderation. A dirty word. From moderate (Latin) via moderat: reduced, controlled. I’ve had too much moderation. I submit as evidence dreams I’ve not chased: Living in Mexico. Learning to sail. Chucking it all to write. What’ve I been controlled by? Fear. Fear whittled my dreams to wants. My hopes to goals. Thousands of compromises later… Continue reading Enlarging My Reduced Life
Steven Pressfield would call it the dumbest idea he’d ever heard — but I’ll wager that was probably before Robert Redford got involved. Pressfield’s idea blossomed into the novel that became his first commercial success, The Legend of Bagger Vance. Unsatisfied, the idea morphed into a movie starring Will Smith and Matt Damon — and directed by Robert Redford.… Continue reading How Steven Pressfield Sold America the Bhagavad Gita
He was a racing camel “Tom Marley is a racing camel,” Ahmed said. “The fastest in all of the Sinai.” “Tom Marley?” I asked. “Not Bob?” Ahmed appeared somewhat surprised by my ignorance, but the stupidity of tourists is known the world over. Ahmed patiently explained that Tom Marley, the racing camel, was named after Tom… Continue reading A Camel Named Tom Marley Made Me Choose: Be Right or Be Happy?
In traveling, as in life, there are some things you simply don’t tell your parents. Going beyond what happens at the hostel stays at the hostel, some things you just keep to yourself. Including things that would keep your mom up at night and lead to a blizzard of reminders about safety and links to… Continue reading Who Reads Warning Signs Crossing the Nile?
an anti-institutionalization manifesto Hemmed in by semi-sentient algorithms and AI grammar police reading at a seventh-grade level, surrounded by sheeple all too willing to swap their only-ness for approval, to sleep on the sidewalk to buy the latest customizable surveillance gadget, I hereby declare: The central denials of our age are self and place, by… Continue reading Remember Montag