Random Notes from the Long Wander

Prose, including snippets (mini-memoirs).
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mnaz
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Random Notes from the Long Wander

Post by mnaz » October 18th, 2018, 2:39 pm

I took powerline trails into the open spaces-- ironic escape routes along power grids to get off the grid. I had them to myself; no one came to Nevada for Nevada, for its curved slopes more graceful than long wire droop. One of those trails fell to Death Valley's desolate moonscape, so I climbed the far side, past a collapsed adit where they'd planned to dig vast wealth from a destitute earth. Faith has no limits, I saw the ruins. Atop the rise was a tranquil playa and a big government sign: "Warning: Unexploded Ordnance." The desert remained dead-calm, my days spent in Eden's bright bliss as it was before shadows first stole across rock.
........I'd never seen anything like the Mojave's open sweeps. They curved. And I went into the great arcs. From each crest I'd see the far side's full vertical depth and far, feathery dreamlike forms. I wanted that dream, so I'd descend the arc toward its soft, detached promise, but the far side's depth would mysteriously compress as I descended, and feathery forms would lose their dreamlike feel one by one until I couldn't recognize what I'd sought as I climbed up the far slope, and I'd look back across the arc to see the same delicate fringe that I must have somehow missed when I went past.
........The great arcs were just as strange as the steep red cliffs; a vast, open, crazy, tilted and warped roundscape running toward fiery fringe outer limits. The arcs curved up long ramps, nearly to mountaintops at times, out where I imagined the Great Sky Artist once started to pile sand against ridges and smooth it in enormous, senseless curves-- the start of some new glorious act of sculpting before some unfortunate interruption. The great arcs swept over enormous spans of gentle rise and fall, in some places even rising into different climates, from dusted saltbush into disfigured junipers perched up high on the curve above burning depths.

........I slept in cheap rooms and my truck, in cut-rate motels and casinos. Funny how the desert doesn't change much from California to Nevada except for the gambling machines. They dulled the mystique when I came in from space to a clatter of bell-beep delirium, yet they fit a place with little sense of scale or reality. The machines were everywhere in Nevada, beside posh high roller parlors, out in the most rugged remote outposts, in grocery stores and gas stations, even sixty yards off the airplane at McCarran for godssake. Utah had its obsessions of order and Nevada had its cult of wager, but I seemed impervious to both.
........I liked Nevada for its open lack of scale, though the state is kown mostly for its lack of moralism, from its sludgy, iniquitous bordellos to its Byzantine megacasinos built to confuse your eye, addle your mind and take your money, somewhat like politics. I heard stories of wager-addicted souls losing their cars or even their kids in sketchy gambling grottoes, but moralism was always subjective as hell, as any glance at history proves, so keep the lights on.
........I liked the Gold Strike's Victorian gambling hall mock-up, sitting beside a state prison forty miles from Vegas, where I could check in for $19.95, not to screw around with crap odds but to reset things when running low. Just like Howard Hughes, who was so fond of Las Vegas that he once rented an entire floor of a gambling hotel and then failed to gamble, whereupon he was asked to leave the hotel, whereupon he bought the hotel.
........Sometimes I'd ride a squeaky elevator to the third floor at the Gold Strike, kick back with a whiskey-rocks and ponder a roundscape well-framed in the window. Nevada's true southern nature. The curves were even more mind-blowing when framed and magnified by a third floor window that couldn't possibly exist in most parallel universes. I bonded with this gaudy edifice in the open desert because its existence fascinated me. Each time I dropped into that bright basin I expected nothing but open scrub, that strange hotel nowhere to be seen, nothing but a past recurring dream, an extended illusion.

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sasha
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Re: Random Notes from the Long Wander

Post by sasha » October 19th, 2018, 8:08 am

Enjoyed. These travelogues fascinate me because the land you describe is so different from the land I'm familiar with, yet you paint your subjective experience of it in a way I can relate to some of my own internal excursions along the Maine seacoast.
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I'm not an outlier. I just haven't found my distribution yet.

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mnaz
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Re: Random Notes from the Long Wander

Post by mnaz » October 20th, 2018, 2:58 pm

Cool. Thanks. That's how I feel about them-- excursions into internal perception, trying to "get the shape of rock" (You can actually see it out there!)

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stilltrucking
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Re: Random Notes from the Long Wander

Post by stilltrucking » October 20th, 2018, 11:32 pm

we were strangers passing in the night
me in the peterbilt
you in your pick up
you got eyes
I could see it too from a distance
but I could only wonder at what I was seeing.
pretty close to religious feeling, but you take me back to it with your writing 8)

thanks for writing made me homesick for the road, my million mile wander,

ps
I wish you had not deleted the democrats and republicans post a couple of days ago, but I am the great deleter, who am I to complain, so anyway :arrow:
I was going to reply to it with this:

How Beowulf Can Save America
An Epic Hero’s Guide to Defeating the Politics of Rage
https://betterlivingthroughbeowulf.com/ ... e-america/

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mnaz
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Re: Random Notes from the Long Wander

Post by mnaz » October 23rd, 2018, 1:30 pm

Thanks Jack. Sometimes I thought of you when I stayed at the Gold Strike-- a "trucker's haven" of sorts. Lots of rigs in the lot, some idling-- that muscular metallic rhythm. Sometimes better than dealing with Vegas forty miles up the road I guess ...

I remember crossing the tracks toward the prison, turning southwest and heading up a long grade ... a long, sloped "ramp" almost all the way up to the top of McCullough Range that I'd noticed a couple months earlier from the long slope on the far side of that massive basin. And these slopes curved a little bit as well-- the crazy roundscape from which all manner of raw sculpture emerged.

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Doreen Peri
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Re: Random Notes from the Long Wander

Post by Doreen Peri » November 24th, 2018, 12:08 am

Great! Looking forward to reading your new book!

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mnaz
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Re: Random Notes from the Long Wander

Post by mnaz » November 26th, 2018, 2:45 pm

Thanks Doreen. Well, it's written at least. Need to figure out where to go from there. Just so insanely busy these daze. Moving is a real pain, and cleaning/fixing the old place, and work, and ...

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