You’ve lost that living feeling

by Lorin Michel Monday, June 3, 2013 12:54 AM

I’ve written before about my love of abandoned things. I find them haunting, magical, full of mystery and even of life. They’re also filled with stories that used to be. Stories of people, of what happened to drive the people away.

On Pear Blossom Highway that runs east in the high desert toward Victorville and ultimately Las Vegas, there are places where houses used to stand. Now there are shells, fireplaces, sometimes the foundations or stone walls of where a family once lived. When we drive east toward Arizona, past Palm Springs, through the Sonoran desert, there are abandoned homes and cars. People used to live there though how I’m not sure since there is literally nothing around for miles. No food, no gas, no civilization. Maybe that was the point. Maybe that is the point.

On Mulholland Drive, out toward Malibu, there is a Ferris wheel. It’s part of Calamigos Ranch. I don’t think it’s abandoned, but it looks like it, tucked as it is amongst the tall grass and unkempt trees. There are abandoned Ferris wheels all over the country – all over the world – frozen in time, mid-ride. If I try, I can still hear the giggles and laughter, the shouts to those on the ground from those up above. You should see the view.

Along the roads, there are abandoned pieces of furniture. Shoes, lost soles, litter the lanes. Sneakers, loafers, slippers, flip flops, boots all poised to take off for somewhere other than where they are. I see them everywhere and I wonder how they got there, if they were just tossed aside, if they left on their own. As if they’re people, as if they have a story to tell. Wait ‘til you hear.

The abandoned are still viable, still have history, a past that is there for us to see, a future that only exists in our imagination. In my imagination. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have the majority of humanity disappear but still have the air remain healthy, for there to be no danger. In essence, I would be alone with only those I choose to travel the world, finding homes to live in, any home at all. One overlooking the ocean, watching the dolphins swim and the whales spout; the seagulls lazy in the sky. Another home in the mountains with the snow white and untouched, owls in the trees, deer grazing on the protruding grasses. I don’t think of this as gruesome or grisly because I really don’t want to be without human contact. I think it’s just a writer’s fascination with the impossible possibility. And a love of amazing houses.

What would happen if? How would I deal if? Where would I go if?

I wonder if it has anything to do with my fascination of post-apocalyptic fiction. Two of my favorite books take place in the aftermath of a cataclysmic event that destroys most of civilization and leaves the rest to try to make a life out of nothing. The Stand by Stephen King, written in 1978, deals with a virus; The Road by Cormac McCarthy, published in 2006, deals with a blinding light that is never explained. In these books, civilization has been abandoned. There are homes and cars in The Stand but electricity is gone; there is no phone service. In The Road, there is literally nothing, including the sun. The world is gray and cold; no live trees or vegetation; no animals. Only sporadic surviving humans searching for life and fighting to stay alive.

Abandonment and apocalyptic scenarios are frightening, but they appeal to us because of the maybe, the what if, the what would we do. I blame human nature and our constant flirtation with destruction.

Most writers have this fascination. Maybe it has to do with the Bible and the supposed Rapture, but since I’m not religious, I don’t think so. Some have speculated that it’s about good triumphing over evil, but in far too many of the books (The Stand notwithstanding) there is no definitive good or evil to triumph over. It’s simply a battle to survive, of finding the will to do it under unimaginable conditions.

I think it has to do with the possibility of reinventing the world as we would like to see it. Sometimes it’s dark and scary; other times it’s bright and full of opportunity; full of hope.

Either way, I’m pretty sure that my fascination with abandonment and apocalyptic scenarios will undoubtedly continue, not because I’ve lost that living feeling, but because I continue to have that loving feeling. It’s called loving it out loud. 

Tags: , ,

live out loud

Beautiful abandon

by Lorin Michel Thursday, May 2, 2013 12:39 AM

Imagine driving through a desolate area and coming upon a house. The grass has long turned to weeds that have browned and died. Still tall, they seem a camouflage jungle, pale and unintimidating, barely concealing the house that is closed up. The windows have the haze and cast of glass that hasn’t been cleaned in perhaps decades. The door is weather-worn, though still closed. Shutters hang even though they’re still attached. It’s obvious that no one lives here and hasn’t for some time.

Now imagine parking your car, opening the door, getting out and standing in front of such a structure. Eerie in its beauty, haunting in its ghost-like state. You walk up to the front door, turn the knob and find that it opens. You step inside to discover that the house is indeed abandoned, probably several decades ago, and that it is pristine. It’s as if the inhabitants simply evaporated one day, mid-life. You move easily and yet uncomfortably from room to room finding it strangely in-tact, from the shoes at the foot of the still-made bed to the books stacked near the radio. You’re sure that if there was still electricity you could turn on the radio and perhaps hear an address from Roosevelt, or maybe Fibber McGee and Molly. Or a broadcast from a far off land, spoken in another language.

What would you do in such a place? If you’re Dutch photographer Niki Feijen you grab your digital camera and start taking pictures. A photographer who specializes in something called urban exploration, he is drawn to places like closed-off tunnels, boarded-up churches and ghost towns. He recently found an abandoned farmhouse and of course, promptly went inside. Brave lad, he. The only downside, according to him is that there were “about 60,000 dead flies and an incredible foul smell coming from the two freezers downstairs.”

I have a fascination with things that have been abandoned. I always want to know why. I find myself drawn to these stories that have no beginning and no end, simply a middle. I’ve read novels, usually apocalyptic, where survivors wander the landscape in search of home. When I read Stephen King’s The Stand, first in high school and then several times since, I was intrigued by the idea that some sort of virus could wipe out most of the world’s population and that those who were not affected walked through the country, finding homes where there were no longer people, staying for an hour, a day, a week, a month. It was like finding themselves in the middle of someone else’s story.

When I first read, then watched The Road several years ago, it was much the same. An unnamed catastrophe made the world nearly uninhabitable. The man and the boy trudged through a desolate country, finding what they could. They came upon countless houses, the occupants long since dead, the buildings standing stark against a white and burning sky. The two found a hidden bomb shelter stocked with food where they slept at night. During the day, they took a bath in the house, using soap and shampoo from other people. They lived the lives of others, the lives of once upon a time.

I read somewhere once that writer’s have a fascination with the end of the world, with what happens and how those left behind survive. Perhaps it’s because it’s the ultimate story, one where the imagination can go anywhere it wants, creating worlds that it wants because they don’t actually exist.

Except that, evidently, they do.

Celebrating the abandoned beauty and the other worlds as captured by photographers like Niki Feijen, urban explorers and story finders.

Tags: , ,

live out loud

christian louboutin online discount christian louboutin wholesale jerseys from china replica oakleys wholesale jerseys cheap michael kors cheap replica oakleys oakley sunglasses sales cheap jerseys free shopping michael kors handbags nike nhl jerseys cheap nhl jerseys cheap replica oakleys oakleys sale cheap jerseys from china christian louboutin outlet 2016 cheap fake oakleys WHOLESALE AUTHENTIC JERSEYS fake ray bans fake cheap oakleys cheap christian louboutin cheap christian louboutin online cheap jerseys cheap oakleys cheap jerseys from china cheap michael kors wholesale mlb jerseys replica oakleys store cheap jerseys china fake oakleys authentic nhl jerseys cheap wholesale nfl jerseys discount oakleys cheap oakleys fake oakley sunglasses replica christian louboutin cheap oakley sunglasses authentic jerseys cheap cheap oakleys outlet wholesale oakleys christian louboutin online wholesale cheap jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys fake cheap oakleys discount jerseys sale cheap ray bans fake cheap oakleys michael kors outlet cheap wholesale jerseys replica ray bans wholesale jerseys outlet wholesale nba jerseys fake cheap oakleys fake cheap oakleys outlet ray bans sale christian louboutin outlet oakleys sunglasses wholesale authentic jerseys discount ray bans fake cheap oakleys cheap christian louboutin online nhl jerseys cheap nfl jerseys discount ray bans wholesale jerseys cheap ray bans michael kors handbags outlet replica michael kors wholesale oakley sunglasses ray bans outlet cheap jerseys china cheap nba jerseys fake cheap oakleys cheap oakleys cheap ray bans cheap christian louboutin discount oakleys wholesale nfl jerseys cheap michael kors handbags fake cheap oakleys discount christian louboutin wholesale nhl jerseys michael kors on sale discount ray bans cheap jerseys wholesale cheap michael kors cheap replica oakleys cheap michael kors bags replica ray bans cheap sunglasses ray bans authentic jerseys authentic jerseys from china cheap oakleys outlet replica oakley sale red bottoms shoes on sale wholesale oakleys cheap nfl jerseys cheap replica oakleys wholesale oakleys cheap christian louboutin outlet cheap oakleys store cheap michael kors cheap ray bans cheap authentic nfl jerseys paypal cheap fake oakleys cheap oakleys cheap michael kors outlet fake ray bans fake ray bans cheap authentic nike jerseys cheap authentic jerseys fake cheap oakleys fake oakleys store replica oakleys cheap christian louboutin fake oakley cheap cheap jerseys wholesale cheap replica oakleys cheap michael kors outlet wholesale jerseys china cheap oakleys online replica michael kors cheap ray bans jerseys wholesale cheap fake oakleys discount ray bans cheap michael kors store cheap ray bans ray bans sunglasses jerseys wholesale wholesale china jerseys cheap mlb jerseys oakley sunglasses wholesale nba jerseys christian louboutin outlet wholesale oakleys wholesale authentic jerseys wholesale mlb jerseys cheap michael kors outlet cheap jerseys online shopping cheap ncaa jerseys michael kors bags cheap fake oakleys cheap jerseys wholesale cheap fake oakleys cheap replica oakleys cheap michael kors cheap discount ray bans ray bans sunglasses cheap jerseys free shopping cheap nba wholesale jerseys fake oakleys replica oakleys cheap nhl jerseys cheap christian louboutin cheap oakleys official jerseys replica ray bans cheap michael kors outlet wholesale jerseys cheap cheap authentic ncaa jerseys michael kors on sale cheap fake oakleys cheap elite jerseys discount oakleys cheap replica oakleys cheap michael kors online wholesale and retail oakleys fake ray bans cheap wholesale jerseys
Filter by APML

RecentPosts