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
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 transparencyor, the sometimes
very misleading appearance of transparency. I find this very
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