Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My favorite place in the world.

And the only way to get there without a boat.

In this town is the only time I ever lived alone for more than a few months -- no roommates, no lovers, nobody crashing on the living room floor. I ate beans and rice and plantains for lunch and for dinner and finished a book every couple of days. I was obsessed with fiction then. There was a traveler's bookswap in the middle of the town, but most of the books were in German or Czech or were the epitome of travel-fiction fodder. I ended up mostly rereading what I had brought.

I read the first nine-tenths of Gao Xingjian's Soul Mountain three times on this island and never finished it; it was too good to close, to read a final chapter, to have wrapped up in any way, to let go. I had nothing else to be attached to but these books and the sunshine and the volatility of the weather. Once a week went by without me saying anything to anyone. I will never forget that week.

I also carried around Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. I finally began reading it in the last month because I was desperately lonely, and it reminded me of the place I had been before coming to the place I was - physically and otherwise. It reminded me of someone's skin from my past, and it was as good as putting my mouth against that flesh. It was a momentary happiness, and I learned that pushing through that last bit of loss was the only way to experience joy again.

And then I read Julio Cortazar's Hopscotch and felt better - confused but better. You can't take yourself too seriously when you read a book that suggests a non-chronological reading.


Anonymous said...

I am a self confessed addict....I have become hopelessly entranced with your blog and look forward to each post. The photography and insight are amazing. In some ways I sense a kindred spirit and in doing so understand myself. I also live in Houston and love the work that I don't recognize but feels familiar....keep up the great work.

steveowinlow said...

At first I was thinking Yucatan - but, on second thought, Belize.

kplaow said...

i love how "fictional" you become in my eyes when I read this.. i think the enclosed/vast tranquility of the place, the rattling of the bike etc add to that sense...
maybe it's the fact that i've been in this sort of setting, done what you've done, but not quite.
places have feelings. as do actions sometimes.
the words provide the framework, but surprisingly it's the detailed nature, the realism of video that fuses snippets of my memories with your actions and turns you in to the character i inhabit.
also, you're so smart about the way you film. there's this duality. most of it is first-person, but then you turn the camera on yourself and it seems like you are doing this for yourself.. showing to yourself not just how it is/was but also how it makes/made you feel.
this may seem redundant to someone who hasn't seen this post.

Pat! said...

so that's what you sound like :)

mhu91 said...

Le paradis !!!

Anonymous said...

my favorite post of yours yet

Johnny Riggs said...

Amazing. At first, I thought you were on a dirt/sand path leading quite a long way down to a cliff, and then to a beautiful rocky beach, only reachable by one trail, on Block Island. It isn't a popular hotspot, as the beach on that side of the island is extremely rocky, there is no restroom, and it's quite a hike. I think it would be a perilous trip by boat, and I'm not sure it's possible.
I could tell pretty quickly by the vegetation that your destination was more tropical than my pine covered northeastern trail, but they resemble each other, I must say. I don't believe you actually tell us where this is. Mystery can be maddening!
It's a wonderful video for you to have shared. Thanks again. The photos by a lover / first time, and this? Glad I found you by accident!
My favorite thing about the whole trip is that every time the camera captures your face it's completely giving away the happiness and complete childlike joy inside you.
You may be able to keep the place a secret namewise, but you can't make us think you hate it there!