Most bloggers stick with a single focus– their family, their profession, their unique hobby– whatever. My content is all over the map. So too, according to my analytics tools, is my readership.
I realize that people stopping by for ghost town info could probably care less about my musings about palm trees and Jack Johnson’s music. Likewise, folks linking over from Wikipedia to read about the Honey Island Swamp in southern Louisiana likely care little about hiking in Tooele County, Utah.
Music reviews and posts about my kids aside, a prominent theme here is the vast, empty desert in my backyard. It’s a unique, enigmatic place that one can’t possibly begin to comprehend without spending some time in. Since I realize that more than just desert rats visit this website, I’m constantly trying to accurately describe it here. I’ve concluded that perhaps the best way to do this is would be through the words and lenses of those who understand our deserts best.
Earlier this month, KNPB, a PBS affiliate based in Reno, NV, ran an original documentary called ‘Living in the Big Empty.’ The film features a healthy dose of commentary from Richard Menzies, a local photographer and author who spent a great deal of time exploring ‘America’s outback’ in his ‘73 Volkswagon bus.
His 2005 book, Passing Through: AnExistential Journey Across America’s Outback, documents his travels in this always intriguing, often bizarre world and tells the story of the people who call it home. I’ve communicated with Richard via email for a couple years now and it was nice to match the name to a face in this documentary.
The film also features commentary from writer William Fox, whose book Playa Works: The Myth of the Empty is a must-read for anybody interested in Great Basin topography and its effect on the human psyche.
If you’ve ever read my lacking descriptions of the salt flats or the “West Desert” and wondered about these places, you can watch the entire film online at KNPB’s website. I highly recommend it.