Tag Archives: Desert

Girl Lit Four on Necessary Fiction: Excerpt from Rambler by Chris Rice

It’s wet-cold here. Get yourself tea, stare at your tiny cactus plant a while to get you in a desert mindset (of course that won’t quite cut it, but you’ve got fiction coming to bring a booming, dragging heat to you). My intro to the piece:


This is an excerpt from a novel ms entitled Rambler. Rice writes with fine-tuned sensitivity to how natural landscapes shape identity. I’m watching the grey autumn rains fall here, but here’s the alchemy of fiction, the transmutation of senses: I can feel instead the desert heat, see the glints off a hot car chassis, the tall, looming cactus, and the colours and textures across a sandy, distant earth. The author describes the mechanics of her novel best:


Rambler, the story of a girl grown up on the road, circles through layers of childhood experience, ancestral legend and current time to find the family she left behind.


These girl lit chains and circles, constant movement of harsh and vivid life.


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The lure of damaged places

Down in Comely Bank, another part of Edinburgh, I added another couple of photos to my growing collection of shots of abandoned buildings.

I have been thinking now of how the eye is drawn to the wreck, the boarded up window, the collapsed roof, the weeds sprouting from the windowsill.  So, a post, drawing a few of them together in my mind. some you may recognise if you’ve been following this blog a while –

Romantic Shack, Catalonia.


Ruined store (?), Ocate, New Mexico


Dead Restaurant, Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico


A window in Golden, New Mexico


Abandoned house on private property, Espanola, New Mexico


Empty house, Bruntsfield, Edinburgh


Condemned clubhouse, Dunbar


Pub, Comely Bank


This last one, along with the building in Bruntsfield, is not lost entirely. There was a sign in the front saying work would be done. At some point.

But how long is time, in a building without people?


Filed under 2012, art, Edinburgh, New Mexico, Scotland



Landscape of: rustling grass, desert right before the black stump,  flatness, kanga and sheep country, Eastern inland New South Wales.



Landscape of: Mountain, Gums, Eucalyptus vapour, Blue Mountains, New South Wales.



Landscape of: aridity, sustaining water, bush, deep into New Mexico.



Landscape of: sea creep, early morning, Eastern Seaboard, Maryland.




Landscape of: Fenland – marsh, meadowy, Cambridgeshire, England.



Landscape of: estuarine mingling, Atlantic sift, river tide, Morar Scotland.



Landscape of: the sea, the sea, the sea.


Filed under celebration




1. A reclining figure. A grainy texture. A view of red sandstone houses, curving downhill.

2. Smirr and mist and threads of trees. A village at the head of a loch, sped by half-witnessed.

3. Blackened branches, gathered from the mesa top. Foiled food slow cooking, steaming.

4. A collapsible nylon room. Clarity on the stones, the bright green leaves.


It’s like this: Low evening light, morning light. Fire, ashes. Desire for a certain place, now far and in the past, or an instance that was understood only later, in pictures. Or a place that was Spring, in a remote desert camping ground. Or a beautiful third-floor flat, long since leased out to others. The one who helped find it, dead too young. It’s the sorrow and the striving, the echo down the corridor to the tiny impossible bathroom, to the living room with the bay windows where the light has room to let itself sprawl, golden, grey, pink, to the bright aquarium with the mouthing goldfish, Shen-Long the weather loach undulating in the current.


It’s the collecting of other people’s photographs of a path or break through a looming green forest, the human figure tiny, laden, fragile, in tartan-patterned flannel and thick walking boots, carrying a metal cup and sleeping bag lashed to their knapsack. It’s the wishing for more than stone, however well-weathered that stone is, for a wild range, at last, rather than muted sickness. For the outdoors, the flimsy, the breath of plants, the movement and rustle of the body passing along the trail, the cooking in ember, the tea over flame. The chik of bats spinning in the gloaming, the wave on the dark loch.


And for you?




Filed under 2012, celebration, New Mexico, Scotland, The Now