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Beginning in January 2012, apropos of a series of journeys, interviews, and reading, I am writing a book about Marfa, Texas and environs, that is to say, taking the area's best known town as a flag for far West Texas's larger Big Bend region. To people who live in the region this may seem a strange choice. I'll have a lot to say about it in the book.

A few other preliminary things I can say are that I'm especially interested in exploring the contrasts and comparisons with the subject of my previous travel book, Mexico's Baja California peninsula (geography, flora and fauna, history); Marfa's (and the Transpecos') iconic status in the American imagination; how the vast spaces and the quality of the light inspire various artists; and the way so many of us, all over the world, are connected on the Internet, and how this fundamentally changes a travel writer's approach to a place, and interaction with the people there. I imagine that some or perhaps many people in Marfa, at some point, may find this webpage via a google search or a hashtag on Twitter. So the writer's relative anonymity as he or she travels has evaporated. Similarly, far more of a writer's research, before, during and after travels, will be on-line. With Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, TripAdvisor, YouTube, webpages of all kinds, we are experiencing a hyper-accelerating social transparency—or, the sometimes very misleading appearance of transparency. I find this very interesting.

At this point it is not possible to say more for, if I've learned one thing, it is that any journey, and that includes the journey of writing a book, is strewn with surprises.

P.S. The Marfa Mondays Podcasting Project is now a member of the Marfa Chamber of Commerce, an advertiser in Cenizo Journal, and a sponsor of the Marfa Roller Derby. (Are Fanny Calderon de la Barca et al rolling in their graves?) More about all that anon.

Thank you for your interest. I invite you to join my mailing list for (very, very) occasional updates and also, follow my Marfa Mondays podcasts on Podomatic or iTunes. You'll hear about all these if you subscribe to my blog, Madam Mayo, as well.

Update: I read from the work-in-progress, "A Visit to Swan House" and talked about some of the peculiarities of literary travel writing in the digital age in my lecture for PEN in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Listen to that as a podcast here.