02 September 2008

After Fighting for Months

So after multiple requests from Cassie, Mark, Cody, John, and Tabitha (among others), general confusion or lack of any direction on what to post, and after fighting with myself for months over if I should even continue to post, I have decided to re-enter the blogoshpere. Much has happened to me since I last posted, but more of such events as I post in the future.

Intuition tells me I was meant for some other city.

Las Vegas! Sin city. America's playground. The city can still seem, by comparison with where we came from, paradise.

I moved here (read: drove across country), with the help of Chris, at the beginning of August, to start my new job, teaching Photography at Del Sol High School.

I came across this email Tabitha sent me over a year ago, but I think its relevance is just as poignant now that I have movedaway (from Wisconsin) (again).

----- Original Message -----
From: Tabitha
Date: Tuesday, May 22, 2007 7:18 pm
Subject: Re: elitism


When you left, all culture and civilization left with you. I've barricaded myself in a fortress with bricks of egocentricity that are held together by the mortar of elitism. I hear that all is well, and the tidbits of blog I've read have been both amusing and insightful, as usual per Tony.


It's true I have neglected my duties(?) with After Fighting (as a bastion of cultural insight?), but its one of its original intentions was to keep my friends and family informed of my travel experiences, whilst far away from home. Upon my return from Manchester last summer, After Fighting waned; my posts became fewer and farther between. I was living back in Wisconsin, hanging out with friends more, or at least keeping in closer contact with them, so the need to post diminished. I could have these cultural conversations with Tabitha and John when I visited them in Madison or with my short-term roommates,  Alyssa and Jess, in Oshkosh.

But now that I am away from them I have decided to take up my post(ing) once again. We will necessarily have novel thoughts that sprout from our observations of these new places. These different observations and thoughts if not recorded will inevitably be lost. They are unlike thoughts at home that are encountered on a daily basis. We will more often and more likely revisit the familiar objects of home simply by virtue that we are surrounded by them all the time.

New places are a rich source of information and altered perspectives. I’ve been fortunate to have traveled to a number places, always carrying the lightest baggage (I moved everything important to me to Las Vegas in a Chevy Cavalier).

The West – its manifesto – leave everything behind. Say goodbye to the world you thought you lived in.

The immediate motives for our journeys are personal; but they might also be said to have belonged to a broader historical movement dating back to the middle of the nineteenth century, in which “settlers” (such a misnomer) began for the first time to travel in great numbers to the West in an attempt to “tame” this uncharted land – the muse of the “discoverer”, at once wanderlust and bounty.

Something hopeful was created in the West through the century of its Protestant settlement. The schoolroom myth of America described an ocean – “internal immigrants” leaving behind time zones, desiring something new, better – but what exactly? People believed that in the West they could begin new lives.

Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1968, 11 x 14 inches. Photographer Robert Adams explored new housing tracts that were being built along the Colorado Front Range in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The developments filled with people who had migrated west in search of a new Eden, only to discover themselves isolated in an artificial landscape.

The West (to the Midwestern) is a sad place, really – a place created by American children, a place of prefabricated houses and prefabricated New England or European attitudes, a place of pale beer, a place that only honors the future. At this point, I can only marvel at the comic achievement of the West, their defiance of history, the defiance of ancestors.

A place of hundreds of houses; houses where there used to be fields. Robert Adams, Newly Completed Tract House, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1968, 11 x 14 inches.

At any rate, I'm back. More to come.