I am fascinated with the early 20th century west and midwest. The dusty lonesome farmer, the wanderer, set against an unceasing landscape. An individual who either bucks community or searches for it – or sometimes both. A closed frontier and questions of where to go next. The newly domesticated. Or at that, the fear of the new. Having everything in the world seemingly open to you, but the closeness of community to keep an individual from being able to stray from accepted conventions. It is a crossroads, a meeting place. The landscape of the immigrant and of the disadvantaged. A natural landscape with humans struggling to get ahead to the unnatural. Fascinating.
Part of my fascination with it is also my personal connection to it. My Dad’s family were early Ohio pioneers. Today that is barely the midwest, but in 1800 (when they made their way out there) it was the edge of the American world. My Mom’s family went into Oklahoma after the land was opened up to white settlers. Every generation on my Mom’s side in the 20th century migrated to California to live for a period of time for various and sundry – though they have all left California by now (Except me! Though I’ve never lived in OK). The road between Oklahoma and California is a well-worn one for my Mom’s folks. None of my American ancestors come from rich families. We’ve always been average Joes, more or less.
This is instigated by working at a museum focusing on Western culture, and also on some rewatching of Carnivale. I love the texture of Carnivale – the dark, dusty, worn texture. I want to curl up in it.