Friday, June 17, 2005

Avast, Matey!

I won't give up without a fright.

I've been driving around town with my black patch over one eye, so piratical-looking that in all justice I should have a Cutlass. (Maybe a 1964 convertible, with a 442hp engine? Now that's piratical. And not very fuel-efficient, either.)

I subscribe to a travelwriter's group, and responded to a post where someone had a ton of notes from the Far East, and wanted to know about writing a book.

A reply mentioned an Englishman who traveled around Ireland with a refrigerator. I couldn't help but respond:

Now, don't knock Traveling Across Ireland with a Frig (I'm not sure it's the real name, but I found it at the library). It was well-written. It was based on a gimmick, sure, but that's always been true in travel writing.

For example, how about Thor Heyerdahl, trying to cross the oceans on rafts, or papyrus boats? Or Richard Halliburton, the travel writer who swam the pool in the Taj Mahal and died trying to sail across the Pacific in a junk

It's like photography. At first it was novel, so photographers took views of what was there--the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, etc. As more and more cameras became available, the focus (pardon the expression) changed to people. Cartier-Bresson, for example, famous kissing couples, etc. Then photographers began looking for something different: extreme closeups, radical images, etc.

I've written freelance for many years, and you always need an angle that's different. I write golf travel, for instance, and it's hard to find something, once you get past the "green grass, blue skies".

That was the end of it.

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