I’ll start with a bit of an update on my personal history, for both those who sort of know me, and those who don’t. After dropping out of high school in the late 1970’s, I moved around quite a bit, both in the United States and abroad. Eventually, and pretty much inevitably, I reached New York where I lived for about 13 years and rediscovered my vocation as a photographer.
Before New York, I’d lived eight years in Tucson, so I’d already narrowed my travels, preferring to get to know my current surroundings more deeply rather than always flitting off somewhere new and clawing against the surface for a year or two.
But although the time frame had grown significantly, after about 10 years in New York, I began feeling restless and increasingly confined and began looking about for somewhere new to explore, eventually settling on Gabon in Central West Africa. So I set about preparing for the big move, arranging for my son to attend the American University there, buying camera equipment, getting properly outfitted with jungle gear, a four wheel drive vehicle, and then arranging for a shipping container to haul all my junk over there. In the meantime, I’d spend a couple months in my hometown with my aging parents as it was very possible I would never see them again.
I’d been to Africa several times before, and knew without a doubt that everything would not go perfectly; but I did not expect for every single aspect of my plans to fall through. Yet it happened and I ended up staying in my hometown until my kid finished high school.
So I’ve been here for a little over two years now. I took a job as a small town sports photographer, then became editor, inevitably got fired for some combination of insubordination and pissing off the wrong people (circulation increased during my short time in charge), then started my own online publication.
Covering local politics got me at least marginally interested in local politics. I am now on the Community Corrections Board where I try to ensure that people convicted of petty crimes do not suffer indentured servitude by ongoing court fees as is common in so many places these days (fortunately, the legal powers that be generally agree). I am also now an elected official, having been caucused in when the election winner resigned. It was an election, nevertheless, and I actually campaigned and won against a much more experienced candidate. Who would have thought? Anyway, without going to far into the weeds, I use my position to fight against drug testing of very poor people who need emergency, temporary, aid to pay for such things as electricity or prescriptions. I’m outnumbered by Republicans so have no real influence, but at least if future historians study our era, they’ll find that not every single person in the county was an asshole.
Lately, I’ve been working on creating a tourism website for the county, which has been fun and somewhat profitable by journalistic standards.
Between the journalism, politics, and website work, I know just about all the prominent people in the county as well as those who work for them. It’s far and away the most social I’ve ever been, which is both a gift and a burden.
Anyway, so here I am. My son graduates in a few months and I’ll probably be moving on again, but it’s not for sure. Life is easy here and I have incredible access for photo work. But I’ve made a lot of trips to Nashville and it looks like a place I could live for awhile. Or maybe Detroit? Or back out west? Or even back to Africa. We’ll see.