Ever since I first
heard about Marfa and the remote mountain ranges of far West
Texas, I yearned to go
there. About a decade
ago, on a brief visit, I drank in the majesty of the vast spaces,
the bluer than blue skies, and at night, stars beyond stars,
yes, they're realthe Marfa
Lights. But the people? Breezing through, I didn't have a
chance to talk to many, for I was deep into writing another book,
Miraculous Air, about
Baja California, Mexico's nearly 1,000 mile long peninsula. Once
that wrapped up, I wanted to come back to explore but first,
what I imagined would be a lickety-split project: researching
and writing a novel based on the strange but true story of, as
the title says, The
Last Prince of the Mexican Empire. It seems a pattern
with me, that writing a book always takes about seven times longer
than I had planned, but never mind, finally, I am returning.
No, not to live: I'm based in Mexico City, but over the next
few years, in a series of journeys, I'll be writing a
book about Marfa and the Big Bend.
The title? At this early stage I'm calling it World
Waiting for a Dream: A Turn in Far West Texas.
In the past, as I did
while writing Miraculous Air, I would have turned out
a series of travel articles for newspapers and magazines. I may
still write an article or three, but I am less interested in
which is the cheapest / best / coollest bed-and-breakfast &
etc., than I am in talking to people and, now that podcasting
is possible, rather than stash my notes and taped interviews
in the drawer, I can share them widely.
A QUEST FOR UNDERSTANDING
Who are some of the people who live in this remote and beautiful
place? How is this part of West Texas unique, or similar to other
places? How are things changing? What is it that outsiders inevitably
miss? (What are those Marfa Lights?) As in my travels
in Baja California, I'm especially interested in hearing from
artists, for they make a razor-sharp habit of seeing what others
do not. But anyone can surprise, I learned that much in writing
Miraculous Air, when I interviewed, among so many others,
a surf star; a sportfishing
mogul whose family crest included a corn stalk; and a goat
herder who, even from the deepest canyons, could identify the
flight numbers of the airplanes that passed overhead. As I question
as wide a variety of people as I can muster, I will depart from
a simple premise: an interviewlike a travel memoiris
a quest for understanding, not just about a certain place and
time, but in the deepest sense of what it means to be human.
With this series of 24 podcasts, I invite you to join me in this
adventure in listening.
"The Rambling Boy," reports on the Marfa Mondays Podcasting
Rock art expert
and historical novelist Mary S. Black interviews C.M. Mayo about
travel writing and "Marfa Mondays"
to all my podcasts on podomatic
for free at any time. In addition to this Marfa Mondays series,
I podcast on a variety of subjects, including creative
writing; this dedicated webpage will list the "Marfa