“I’m walking, too – out of the bookstore at the end of a busy day, as I hear Flavio pointing out a book to Sofia, ranking it as the most interesting book of the moment, which has just arrived. I stop, step back without closing the door. I’m always in a hurry. The book in question doesn’t particularly stand out, but I grab a copy and put it in my purse, I’m curious.
I pause to reread a page I like.
(top of page)
‘Where, indeed, would I ever be a citizen? Gilbert asks.
The question of ‘where to be’ has been a recurring concern in my life, my containment frequently thought to be found somewhere else, somewhere entirely unlocatable. Like Lawrence and others, my ambivalence around place has led me to the desert, where my only intention is to explore the neighborhood, view the landscape, as Annie Dillard implores: To discover at least where it is that we have been so startlingly set down, if we can’t learn why.’
(end of page)
No desert photography follows but the images are very evocative, suspended in the search for something the young author never dares to approach. He definitely stays on the periphery, looks behind fences and trees, seems to be hiding. After all, he is not yet 30 years old and I wonder if this constant going westward that he declares in the title is for the American idea of conquering or is more related to the bewilderment of the expression ‘my head’s gone west’.
In any case, if you always look toward the setting sun your shadow will lengthen but you should never see it. Yet in the photographs the shadows are very present, thankfully. That’s its beauty: it doesn’t give up and creates catwalks to new worlds with what it finds, with what’s there. Even if it’s just a broken door thrown on the floor.”