In Sam Shepard’s latest short story collection, Day Out of Days, there’s a short-short story about a guy who irks the cook after hitting on the waitress and not finishing his steak. He tells the cook there’s nothing wrong with the steak; he’s just ready for pie. The cook tells him the pies aren’t ready.

I tell him that’s fine, I’ll just go out and buy a paper and come back. I’ll stroll around the town and take in the sights. He says there are no sights; there is no town. But I tell him I’m a big fan of desolation; appear and disappear. The way something very prosperous and promising turns out to be disappointing and sad. The way people hang on in the middle of such obliteration and don’t think twice about it. The way people just keep living their lives because they don’t know what else to do.

Shepard articulates pitch-perfectly one of the aspects of traveling America I love most – the desolation. Big city life is great, with its ceaseless activity, but it’s those wayward places of extreme inactivity that enchant me. This feature is a running photo album of American desolation. Check in periodically, because I’ll continue adding to it.


  1. Steven Hall says:

    I’m really beginning to be a fan. When I met you I could just feel your artisic spirit. Your humble spirit. God Bless My prayers are with you for a safe trip.

  2. Nathan says:

    That makes me happy! Thanks for the kind words. It was a pleasure meeting you and Sharon. 

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Subscribe without commenting