The Long Way Home


From Beyond
September 21, 2014, 8:08 AM
Filed under: Ohio | Tags: , , ,
from beyond

from beyond

One of the very first drives that Jeff and I took together was to East Liverpool, Ohio: not exactly the romantic trip of every couple’s dreams, but one that means a lot to us because it’s the first route we navigated together. This was pre-GPS. We still used a beat-up, crumpled atlas, coffee-stained, dog-eared and missing pages, but a few states left intact. I had vague ideas of where to go – follow the Ohio River along 65, until you get to 68 and across the border. And then what? I wasn’t sure, but had to figure it out quickly before Jeff had a panic moment at the wheel because he likes to know where he’s going. We’ve come to know the journey so well that we don’t even need a GPS, the atlas long since trashed. He’s the driver, I’m the navigator. Sometimes I don’t know where I’m going, and we end up in unexpected places. We try to make the most of getting lost. I take notes and photos, Jeff scouts landmarks since he remembers places by sight, not names. Sometimes we still forget, and find ourselves braving sticky heat, me fussing with a tripod and camera, trying to get a shot with Jeff as lookout. Sometimes I take too long, we are both hungry and tired from driving aimlessly. Then the shutter clicks. We breathe easy, laugh, and leave, squeezing each other’s hands. We talk about chili dogs from Brighton Hot Dog Shoppe, maybe chocolate milkshakes for dessert, a sunset to guide us home.

A Saturday afternoon.

A Saturday afternoon.

Crook Building, E. Liverpool

Crook Building, E. Liverpool

After the storm.

Portal

Wunder Bar, Route 68

Wunder Bar, Route 68

Ghost sign, E. Liverpool

Ghost sign, E. Liverpool

Along the way: New Brighton.

Along the way: New Brighton.

The secret door.

The secret door.

A faded mural, E. Liverpool.

A faded mural, E. Liverpool.



Quiet Among the Chaos
September 17, 2014, 7:19 PM
Filed under: Art Gallery | Tags: , ,
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It’s been an eventful few weeks: preparation for a job interview (which happened today), publication in Optiko and Pryme Magazine (excited. proud!) and I finally have a website, which I promised to have finished before summer’s end. This blog though is my baby and my writing home, so I’ll be back in a few days to post more. In the meantime, check out my instant photo site. I’ve wanted to have one for so long, and I’m finally glad I got around to it. Now I’m off to curl up with The Lives and Loves of Daisy and Violet Hilton and a bowl of pork dumplings: gifts of nourishment and solitude.



Summer Notes
August 29, 2014, 6:42 AM
Filed under: Art Gallery | Tags: , , ,
Route 66, Cook Forest, PA

Route 66, Cook Forest, PA

It’s funny how, for years, I lived with that “summer promise” feeling in the back of my mind: the one where, once school is over, adventure and change awaits – but it’s only another season. I worked lots of overtime, watched Veronica Mars, buried myself in books. Struggling lately to get through A Tale for the Time Being, but I’m having trouble with fiction these days. My mind wanders. I’d rather be out in the world, photographing my ordinary neighborhood, and others’ ordinary neighborhoods. I reconnected with old friends from home. Seeing them in person for the first time in almost 20 years made my heart swell with love: do they know how much their friendship helped make me the woman I am today? It’s something I feel as if I don’t have to say out loud: coming from the same place, we have an understanding. This summer has been about comforts like car trips and faded photos; accepting middle age with humor and something like grace; finding ways to regroup after years of grief. It’s nostalgia for places so tiny they have disappeared from maps.

July: A birthday selfie,

July: A birthday selfie.

An Amish man in Rogers, OH.

An Amish man in Rogers, OH.

Ohio: When I think of summer, it looks something like this.

Ohio: When I think of summer, it looks something like this.

Old-fashioned fair food.

Old-fashioned fair food.

Our new little friend, Max.

Our new little friend, Max.

A house by the side of the road in Indiana County.

A house by the side of the road in Indiana County.

The end of the road: a mountain town in northern Pennsylvania.

The end of the road: a mountain town in northern Pennsylvania.



Analog Travelog in Western NY
August 13, 2014, 10:12 PM
Filed under: Art Gallery | Tags: , , ,
Olean, New York

Olean, New York

I’m excited to have been asked by the Impossible Project to write a blog post featuring our July road trip in Western New York. You can read more about our adventure over here. (It’s been a great summer!)



Evening on Penn
August 5, 2014, 7:18 PM
Filed under: Pennsylvania | Tags: , , , ,
come along with me

come along with me

When Jeff and I aren’t on the road, we travel our neighborhood, making ordinary trips to the grocery store an adventure. Last week, I took my Spectra with me on our walk to Bottom Dollar (Klondike craving), figuring I’d finally get to capture some things  that caught my attention on earlier car rides to work – times where I’m thinking, I’ll go back to that later – and it’s changed. We pass two houses on Gem Way that I filmed this past winter, now a lush, urban garden of tall grass and Queen Anne’s Lace. The row houses across the street, looming brick structures on broken Penn Avenue, a door still covered in old newspapers from, I swear, as long as we’ve lived here – seven years. All the moving around I did as a child, then a college student, then as a young adult trying to find my way, and now I’ve arrived: middle-aged, Spectra in hand, with my best friend beside me peeling silver wrapping from a frozen treat: this is home.

 

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the garden

the garden



Unblurred: Julie Skidmore
July 31, 2014, 8:42 PM
Filed under: Art Gallery | Tags: , , ,
Untitled by Julie Skidmore

Untitled by Julie Skidmore

For August Unblurred on Penn Avenue: Studio 5013 features photography by Julie Skidmore. Through August 31.

Untitled on expired film by Julie Skidmore

Untitled on expired film by Julie Skidmore

Untitled by Julie Skidmore

Untitled by Julie Skidmore



Limestone House
July 25, 2014, 7:05 AM
Filed under: New York | Tags: , , , , ,
Limestone House

Limestone House

Actually the house is not made of limestone, but in Limestone, New York, a hamlet just over the PA border of nearby Bradford. It was once, I’m guessing, part of a family farm, and is now filled with abandoned antiques. Each time we’ve gone up to Olean, we pass by this place, and each time we stop I peek through the windows to see if anything has changed; two years later and the living room is still filled with coat racks heavy with military jackets, an art deco metal glider, peeling rose wallpaper in the hallway. The kitchen is unrecognizable, the stove replaced with broken chairs, debris littering the floor where the fridge once stood. The porch is dangerously close to caving. There is a heaviness I feel as I tread the tall grass in the backyard. The windows are eyes, the door always open, daring us to enter and discover its secrets.

House in blue.

House in blue.

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