Rabbits, Haircuts, and the Light in a Character’s Eyes…
January 7, 2011
What better way to start 2011 than getting to know the “Mother Road” better. Fortunately, I had two special items awaiting me—both to be savored as New Year’s day treats. Kevin Wong’s newly released photographic book, The Mojave Experience, and Jim Luning (director) and Tim Steil’s DVD revisit–Route 66 Ten Years Later.
My expectations were positive, but modest—to learn some new things about the Mother Road, enjoy some Route 66 pictures, and maybe get a few writing ideas. I got so much more.
To visit a section of Route 66 today from the perspective of current day travelers in Kevin’s book (including many visitors from other countries), to see their faces, to hear about their fascination with Route 66—was more moving than I ever expected. There is “something” very compelling about Kevin’s photographic style which uses wonderful “straight-on” reflections of these adventurous individuals. Kevin has done a great job of capturing the metaphoric “light in their eyes” and the body language of their stances. And his visit with Dennis Casebier—Wonderful!
Then in Jim’s DVD, to hear and see how Route 66 was just ten years earlier was not only a marvelous juxtaposition of then and now within the video, but also in conjunction with Kevin’s photographs. I learned so much from Jim and Tim’s return to the Mother Road.
In particular, seeing and hearing Angel Delgadillo and Rich Henry was “priceless.” It felt like I was there. Indeed, as if they were talking to me personally; and animal lover that I am, I just wanted to reach out and pet Hobo(sp) Jr., Henry’s current rabbit counter-icon. Then to hear Angel talking about his feelings, and those of his customers during their barbershop “experiences” (far more than a simple hair cut!), was absolutely marvelous. The twinkle in his eyes, the smile on his face… Then there was the friendship between Jim and Tim—unusual camaraderie, understanding, and acceptance.
Whether Route 66 neophyte, or “old roadie,” Kevin’s photographs and Jim’s DVD are quite enjoyable.
As an author, I try to draw pictures with words. And with characters in particular, I think bringing them to life with words is one of the ultimate literary skills. After reading, seeing, hearing, and feeling both Kevin’s book and Jim’s DVD—for me, the year 2011 is the year of “characters.” Not that characters haven’t always been up there in the “top two” for me—location being number one. But I want better, deeper, characters—with literary eyes that speak even deeper to their being, that jump out and grab the reader—then just won’t let go! It’s the light in their eyes I want to capture…just like Kevin and Jim did in their photos and on film. (Tim and Jim’s earlier journey–I’ve yet to get— is titled simply– Route 66.)
Thank you Kevin, Jim, and Tim. You’ve re-energized me and given me writing ideas and goals for the new year.
Happy New Year, to all!