Thursday February 27, 2003

Wouldn't it be beautiful to have that special surprise? Like when you open your fridge and you don't expect anything to be in there, 'cause you're always opening your fridge, but there's a big dessert sitting on a plate and it's midnight and you were like, "Shit, where'd that come from. Shit I could eat it." It will all come to us. I've gotten over the disappointment of that dessert not being in my fridge but there will be some there for all of us. If we remember to love and not expect nothing sittin in the fridge that's special waiting for us when we come home then it will happen. Smile when it probably doesn't matter if you smile or not. Be creative. Make it up and beat the other person to it. Make that dessert in the fridge thing happen for somebody else and you'll get the joy of knowing that it happened to someone else and (now don't think about it) the chances are that somebody will be reminded how good desserts taste and they'll scheme how they can do that same special surprise on you.

Sunday February 23, 2003

Tonight Mona took me to a lecture at the Art Institute by Emmett Gowin. It got out about 5 hours ago. It's already gone. I had the feeling when we were in it that the aura of grace would be smashed as soon as we stepped out of the lecture hall. Sort of like when you see Rivers and Tides and you leave the theater and you know you have to talk about it with the people you came with but for a second you wish you could just be alone and unpolluted by the world.

Emmett started off talking about his relationship to his mentors Frederick Sommer and Harry Callahan And this part of lecture was the most touching. His voice was wavering and seemed to be loaded with emotion as he openly shared his love for Harry and Frederick. It made me long for that kind of powerful older figure in my life.

I couldn't see his slide show very well and I was only vaguely familiar with his work, mostly having seen his pupil Sally Mann. The guy wowed me but here I am writing some dry account of it. I'm tired and frustrated with life now because we tried to go to the Adobe show and it was over and then we went to an incredibly lame party south of Market that we had to PAY for. Coming out of the Art Institue, I was ready to take the best photos I've ever taken. I swore that I'm not going to Photoshop up another mediocre snapshot just to have something to post on my website. This is inspiration. Thank god. But the strange part is I can't remember anything he said. That kind of sucks but at least I believe in photography more than ever and Emmett made me proud to be a part of it.

This little interview has much of the same huge Joseph Campbellish stuff he was slinging.

Tuesday February 18, 2003

I handed a proposal to Chronicle Books today. Read below to find out about this amazing book!

Thank you Jen, Rose and Andie for helping me write it.

A cover letter, market analysis, and travel literature criticism, all thrown in together:

It’s Just Like Not Being There is a non-traditional, hybrid book that combines serial text and the author’s own photography. Originally published in email, it is similar to memoirs that make use of collected personal letters, although now these letters are from the digital age. The tone is precious and intimate, following a grand arc of discovery, which can be digested in small increments. The text holds an awareness of the audience reading it in the morning at work while sifting through their daily email. But the subject turns suddenly to one of the most important moments in any person’s life – the death of their mother.

It’s Just Like Not Being There is autobiographical and it is travel writing, but it is not purely a travel book. As a postmodern text, it plays with the bewildering surface of intersecting cultures, like Video Night in Kathmandu by Pico Iyer. There are no long descriptive passages exoticizing traditional romantic views of the East. There are no pictures of mud-caked sadhus swinging incense over the Ganges. Instead, it is closer in tone to works by Bruce Chatwin and Bill Bryson, both contemporary travel writers (and rich, white western men) who attempt to sidestep the colonialist nature of travel by detailing their own ironic bumbling.

Rather than trying to keep the distance between America and India intact by accentuating the exotic, It’s Just Like Not Being There celebrates the train wreck of global popular culture. It is postcolonial as defined by Simon During in Postcolonialism and Globalization because “it produces a mood in which exoticism, normality, and transworld sharedness combine, and in which consumption warmly glows.” It is simultaneous irony and humanism as best typified by Kurt Vonnegut. But it is not always easy and it is not always correct. In Tourists with Typewriters, Patrick Holland and Graham Guggan point out that “Travel writing is a genre that manufactures “otherness” even as it claims to demystify it.” And that postcolonial travel writers are conflicted by working in a genre “that is in many ways antithetical to them.” It’s Just Like Not Being There demonstrates that the Culture of India is not a thing that can be attacked or eroded by the west. It is built every day anew by every person living in that region with each decision they make.

The book includes color photography on most spreads, with 42 full-page photographs throughout. These photos are not only illustrative to the text, but allow the book to stand alone in the coffee table/fine art book genre. It is presented with a quiet and open design in an attempt to balance a voice that is loud and at times curmudgeonly. There are 35 small folios that bleed to the edge of the page to serve as visual markers for events in the text. As one reader noted, the folios, “serve as visual gossip,” equipping the reader with insight to the author’s point of view and personal details. Each photo was taken as the events in the story unfolded. Yet, the photos lack captions and are intended to stand alone from the text.

It’s Just Like Not Being There is simultaneously a memoir, a travelogue and a photographic journal. If this makes it difficult to place on a bookstore shelf, it also makes it stand out loudly. There are no other books like it.



Baudrillard, Jean. America: Verso 1986

Caulfield, Annie. Kingdom of the Film Stars. Lonely Planet 1997

Condon, Sean. Sean and David’s Long Drive. Lonely Planet 1996

During, Simon. “Postcolonialism and Globalization.” Meanjin 48, no. 2 1992 339-53

Eco, Umberto. Travels in Hyperreality. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1986

Holland, Patrick and Huggan, Graham. Tourists With Typewriters: Critical Reflections on Contemporary Travel Writing. University of Michigan Press 2000

Iyer, Pico. Video Night in Kathmandu: And Other Reports from the Not-So-Far East. Vintage Departures 1988

McGrath, Melanie. Motel Nirvana: Dreaming of the New Age in the American Desert. Picador 1996

David Primmer’s Bio

Dave was born and raised in Renton, Washington, where he first experienced living in an alien culture. He studied writing at the University of Washington and was a rock journalist during the grunge era. When punk broke he went to San Francisco. He did artistic stuff like washing dishes and building playgrounds. Then it was 1992 and you could get rich in computers (yes! even then!). He started administrating large groups of computers and building email servers and web server clusters. He forgot about writing for a good 7 years and then decided to start writing email adventure stories to a hundred or so friends. Turned out, the computer work had served him well. Since 1999, tens of thousands of people have visited, the home of his writing and photography.

Saturday February 15, 2003

Friday February 14, 2003

Thursday February 13, 2003

Wednesday February 12, 2003

Shit, Ferris Wheel on Fire. At first I thought this was a cover of something. It's so lyrical it seems like it comes from some pre-historic location -- or at least from the 80's. ('specially when he says "fading from vahue" just like the Flock of Segulls used to do.) It's Neutral Milk Hotel live doing a song that was never released. I have 4 versions of it. I was standing about 3 feet from Jeff when he sang this back in 1998 at the Bottom of the Hil. Bla. Like you care. Well... listen. Even recorded on a walkman and then encoded as a 96k mp3 it's MONUMENTAL.

Ferris Wheel on Fire

Well now first of all
We became what we always had feared
Every engine holds
All their oils on fire appeared
They finally broke through
And on your shoulder
This weight has been placed upon you
And everything we ever learned

Now I'm keeping stow
In someone's bright carnival ride
All the crowd just cheers
As the bolts break and metal collides
Spiraling through
And flying up all over the hills
And now everything's broken in two
And everything's way over

But now most of all
I am holding you under my skin
Watch these buildings fall
Watch as each weak resistance caves in
All over you all over
And now finally fading from view
Is everything we ever knew

Alright y'all, back on the Havana sheeeeot. I have one of some kids playin' basketball and then I have 5 portraits. Here's the first one.

I says to her I want to take her pichure and she says, "OK, get it over with." and I says, "Could you stand in front of this here sawweeeeet gate?" and she didn't understand why I couldn't just take the damn pichure but she did it anyhow. Lemme just tell you now: ever one of these here shots is gonna have someone glarin' at me. I like it that way an don't pay it no mind, since most a what I got was lots of adoration.

Monday February 10, 2003

Sunday February 9, 2003

Saturday February 8, 2003

Friday February 7, 2003

Saturday February 1, 2003

Las Vegas is a lot of things to a lot of people.