“Of all possible subjects,
travel is the most difficult
for an artist,
as it is the easiest
for a journalist.”
– W. H. Auden
W. H. Auden makes an interesting and subtle point. Do you ever ask yourself why some people enjoy RV’ing and why others do not; why is travel ‘easy’ for some and a pain in the butt for others. There are other comparisons that could have been used, that apply equally to travel, but the contrast between the artist and journalist is one that resonates with me.
A journalist is concerned with reporting the facts. I see/read a lot of journalist blogs about RV’ing. An artist is less concerned with facts and more concerned with impressions and with bringing new insight to the commonplace.
Before we retired I created images every day. I don’t mean I used my camera. I mean I went out into the world with camera, lenses and tripod and I worked hard at seeing around me things someone else might not notice. Since retiring I’ve been lazy — I’ve gone out a few days and shot with serious intent but most of the time I have been quite content with simply recording places.
Let me use an example about what I mean. We visited Mackinac Island the year before we retired and had a wonderful day’s ‘wander’ around the island. There are always wonderful sites to be seen. On that one day I looked this particular house and noticed it in a way I’d never paid attention to before. I took some time to capture the scene — but just capturing the scene wasn’t what I wanted from this image. There was a feeling I was looking for and I thought about the scene quite a while before I started working on the image. That home has been on that rock promontory for a great many years. When it was built not only were there materials brought there by horse and wagon (instead of truck), the process of building was very different — using different tools and techniques than what we have today. Eventually I got to what I wanted to ‘say’ about that home.
On that same trip I walked through ‘downtown’ and saw a door — 1/2 in the glaring sunlight and 1/2 in the shade. I thought about how common doors and address numbers were and I wanted to say something about the door other than it’s color and glare. What I came up with was a high contrast black and white.
My point behind all of this is simply that a journalist and an artist approach much if not all of life with two very different motivations and the motivations have their impact on every little decision from there to go to what to do while there. With a myriad of other opposing frames of mind it’s easy to see why there’s no right way to RV. We each approach our time on the road in our own unique way and for our own unique reasons.
On my first visit to the Chiropractor last week he commented that he and his wife have been talking about buying an RV when they retire and it’s something they want to do. He’s a twice married guy who doesn’t travel. For him, ‘seeing the country’ has a very different meaning than it might for a guy who criss-crosses the country by air for business over 30 years. Some of us travel a lot during our lifetime but never outgrow our interest in seeing more of the country than we have — or different aspects of the same parts of the country that we have seen before. That’s kind of where Peggy and I are now. I did a fair bit of flying between 1970 and 1989…. not very much since. When I hear stories about air travel today I ask why would anyone want to go through that — I’m not very keen on air travel now at all. Even to the point of not being nearly as interested in returning to Europe which I once wanted to make a big emphasis during retirement. Now I look at being treated like cattle at the airport and onboard and say, “I can do with out another visit to …..” if I have to travel that way. Maybe I should look at a cruise ship re-positioning trip to Europe…
You get the point. We bring different objectives to our travels. I’m less interested in a blow by blow account — those of you who are regular readers likely have figured that out by now.
Selective Autumn was made near Hayward Wisconsin. What I ‘saw’ when I looked out across the field was orange. All the other colors seemed irrelevant. So that’s what I wanted you to feel in the image. The orange of autumn in Northern Wisconsin.
Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.