Arf, Arf, Marfa
Posted January 6th, 2013 at 7:38 am16 Comments
A bit of news for my longtime readers: I finally got that seatbelt fixed. The one Revel chewed, remember? The one that for over a year meant I could invite one extra kid but not two to ride somewhere with us. And the one I will now guard like you guard something that cost two hundred bucks to fix. It’s the shiniest, cleanest thing in my seven-year-old truck and I fear for its life.
When I leave the dogs in the truck, Ivy sits in the driver’s seat and watches with total focus for my return. Revel and Lena snuffle every inch of the interior in search of something to chew, which is why they had to stay in Austin at the lovely Barking Springs Dog Ranch while Ivy, my husband and I went on a little road trip to Marfa, Texas. The ups of Marfa? It’s a good walking town with wide streets, some hills and slow traffic. It’s colder than Austin and snowed four inches while we were there, a big novelty for us. The town is named after a Dostoevsky character (Sold!). There’s a coffee shop that was actually open when I wanted some coffee. And it’s a handsome town with a big sky, old-West feel and the blurry, low-slung Davis mountains in the distance. I read two books there, which is two more than I would have read at home (Chris Ballard’s new One Shot at Forever, wonderful but a passion for baseball is a prerequisite, and Natalie Goldberg’s old Writing Down the Bones, crunchy-but-good stuff about writing).
The downs? Some wild dogs running loose. Each time we saw them I asked Ivy to Leave It and also Look (which means look at me, please) and walked with total confidence that my smart girl and I are beyond the reach of wild dogs, but I also hoped she would rip one’s throat out if it tried to hurt me. Many burrs on the ground, no big deal if you don’t have paws. And typical resort-town stuff: overpriced food, a lot of things open only Wednesday through Saturday and even then can’t manage to open when their signs say they will, and unfriendly locals. I understand the unfriendly local part because I’ve been a local in a resort town; there’s a resentful vibe that runs through the people struggling to make a living while serving tourists who are in full vacation mode. Some of those tourists may work very hard for their livings at home, but here they are in your restaurant paying thirty bucks for a plate of pisatchio-crusted salmon and twelve bucks for a big ol’ Manhattan and they probably spent their afternoon reading a book and you gotta hate them a little. I get it, but I’d rather be in Austin where everyone’s pretty much friendly and nice and the world’s best taco can be had for $3.50. And so here I am, my pack of Aussies warming my feet.
One thing Natalie Goldberg says in her book is that we shouldn’t identify too strongly with our written words; that a piece of writing by me is not me but rather a moment that went through me, that I caught and wrote down. Reading that one sentence that I have paraphrased badly made the book, and trip, worthwhile. I love to write but I also love to distance myself from what I’ve written, to start walking and keep walking, maybe find some hills.