I'm on the road. There are no wrong choices because there is no goal.
I finished Conspiratorial in a sprint, up against a deadline and without a real home. I wanted to take the final chapter to Richmond Zine Fest, but more importantly the project – a story about a journalist and a paranoid government employee – had become my goodbye to Washington, D.C. I wanted, needed, to finish it before leaving.
A few weeks ago I quit my job and bought a van. The only plan is to explore the country for a while, shooting photographs and writing. I haven't gone camping in more than a decade, but now I own a tent and sleeping bag and a hatchet.
The hatchet. It was instinctive: I just wanted it, though I couldn't think of a real need. But before I left a friend asked, “Did you buy a hatchet?”
“I did, but I'm not sure why.”
“They're just satisfying to own.”
So there you have it. Some things serve their own purpose. Like this, The Trip.
Richmond Zine Fest was Saturday, and I woke up early to drive Rosy (because that damn Steinbeck used Rocinante) 100 miles south. I didn't own a car in my 10+ years of living in D.C., and sometimes I forget how good it feels to drive.
Zine Fest was fantastic. I spent the day talking to other artists and writers, hearing about their projects, and explaining Conspiratorial to people. It's inspiring to talk to creative people. Their energy is positive, and there is a mutual interest in making and sharing things.
I'm proud of Conspiratorial. It took a year to complete – I got sidetracked a few times along the way, and was never in any rush to begin with. But the end product is complete. And that was always a part of the inspiration: to finish something, to tell a story.
And maybe Yuri Realman and Max Fischer have further adventures ahead. I've thought about continuing the characters in sketches set in places I visit on this trip. And honestly, I've come to like the two guys. The story of Conspiratorial was always a story about two people becoming friends, and these guys seem like the kind I'd have a drink with.
So this is the thing. It's feels real now, though it always was. There's no plan or desired outcome, just the search. And the search is always the thing.