I am a manic American. When I tire of America, I escape into America. My brain tells me to go somewhere, and I go. I am a slave to the landscape, less so to the people. I photograph everything. I also write about what I see, in little spiral notebooks and blog posts and lyrics, and set the lyrics to music, and play the songs in rock clubs. This is how I live.
A year ago, I grew very tired of whatever I had been doing. I decided to engage some temporary manifest destiny and go west. Thanks to the graciousness of my host, I was able to explore San Diego and its vast desert backyard. This is what I saw.
I found this guy hard at work in Pacific Beach. Somehow, seeing him made having the day off even more awesome.
Looks like I started writing the lyrics for the INFRASTRUCTURE song “Republic, Michigan” while having a burger for lunch at this Irish pub. We just played the song for the first time at Harper’s Ferry two weeks ago.
This is what doing homework at San Diego State looks like. I read an entire noir novel on the beach the first day, Kenneth Fearing’s The Big Clock. Tremendously impressive. I wish I’d been aware of it when I taught my literary noir course at Tufts.
Friday evening, Mission Beach.
These four Hispanic guys were working their asses off in ninety degree weather, while frat parties began to rage and vacationers whizzed by on beach cruisers. They were covered from head to toe in sun-blocking gear.
Essay and photos by Rob Bellinger
First published: 10/27/2009
Dates of escape: 10/21-26/2008