Featured

An introduction

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde (Maybe).

Yo no pinto lo que veo, pinto lo que siento

(I don’t paint what I see, I paint what I feel.) — Pablo Picasso

On ne pense que par image. Si tu veux être philosophe, écris des romans.

(We only think by picture. If you want to be a philosopher, write novels.) — Albert Camus

Hi, I’m C E Hunt. I like to write, paint and inspire.

This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. My goal is to blog about aspects of my writing or art and places about which I have written or interest me. Please elect to follow this blog, so you’ll know when I post new content. Thanks for visiting.

Monique and the Gift of Resilience

Steve’s life in France seldom goes the way he expects. Surprises are not uncommon when traveling outside one’s nation. An acquaintance of his, Monique, offers up a few more surprises than most.

Steve, sitting in front of Au Petit Suisse Café, realizes he’s likely been stood up by Monique. He has a decision to make. He could sulk or move on and see what’s around the next corner. His new friend, Chester, helps him to move on. The group of friends he meets that night changes his experience in Paris mostly for the better. Within an hour he’d be drunk on sangria and laughing the night away with his dear old (new) friends.

Definitely a life lesson here. We’d all generally be better off reassessing situations after a disappointment to see how we can best rebound or even profit. Sometimes, the rebound is better than the anticipated “bound,” whatever a bound is.

No matter how one expresses it, “Carpe diem,” “Profitez du moment” or “Seize the moment,” it is generally good advice.

Wealth

In my novel, A Moveable Marfa, my character Steve has an in depth conversation with a French woman on the definition of wealth and impacts of technology.

It’s a profound question.

Sign proclaiming a phone booth near Pesmes, France ©CE Hunt 2004

When this sign was first installed, whether it was here or nearby, one can imagine the excitement of this development on the outskirts of Pesmes, France. A real connection to the outside world! Of course, the installation of a phone booth in this village was just the beginning of a dramatic transformation of humans’ relationship to information and in a real sense, wealth.

Pesmes, France ©CE Hunt 2004

Perhaps another way to pose this question would be, “Has technology adversely affected our wealth? Does it distract us from pursuing our real wealth? How many times have you spent an hour or so on the internet and marveled at how little you grew that hour, how little you made “your habitat” better? Did you become wealthier during that spell?

That of course depends on your definition of wealth.

In Chapter 37 of A Moveable Marfa, Steve and his French friend share a bottle of wine attempting to define wealth. The nexus of American notions of wealth with his friend’s French notions makes for a stimulating conversation. I won’t spoil it, but money is certainly not at the forefront in the final analysis.

Below are some images that in my eyes evoke elements of wealth…

Fort Davis National Historic Site ©CE Hunt 2007
Books that we connected with or made our world a bigger and more interesting place or sensitized us to something important
El lamento del torero — C E Hunt 2020 All Rights Reserved
Gettysburg National Historical Park, Little Round Top at Dusk — C E Hunt 2017 All Rights Reserved
A nice draft at Finn McCool’s Irish Pub, New Orleans C E Hunt 2017 All Rights Reserved
Muffaletta at Napoleon House in New Orleans — C E Hunt 2017 All Rights Reserved

Beautiful scenery, great books, art, history, quality brews, good food …

But some of the most important aspects of true wealth can’t be fully captured in a photograph — love, caring, a good friend, health, spirit, spiritual maturity, unity, etc.

Steve and his friend do fair job tackling what is wealth over that bottle of wine in a small Moroccan restaurant in Sommières, France. Read chapter 37 in A Moveable Marfa if you want to “eavesdrop” on their conversation.

Sommières, France — C E Hunt 2004 All Rights Reserved

______________________________

In memoriam of George Floyd 1974-2020.

Like me, he was a native of Houston. I played sports against his high school, Jack Yates Senior High School. The last picture is a picture of George catching a touchdown pass while at Yates. I didn’t know George, but I feel very connected to him somehow and at the risk of stating the obvious, feel these things cannot be acceptable at all in our society. Things must change now. My sympathies to his family and fiancée. (Love, caring and unity are all forms of wealth. In this department, we have so much to do in the United States.)

The Gaze of the Blessed Virgin

With much of the longstanding buzz about the art scene in Marfa, one doesn’t hear as much about the traditional, but very important, aspects of the city.

St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Marfa, January 19, 2007 –C.E. Hunt

Though mostly a bit behind the scenes, St, Mary’s Catholic Church in Marfa plays an important role in the early part of my novel, A Moveable Marfa. A very important scene takes place in front of the Statue of the Blessed Virgin inside the church. Mass is celebrated most days in the active parish, and the church contributes greatly of the fabric of the more traditional aspects of the city. At times the avant-garde expressions of the artistic community of Marfa creates tension with the more traditional aspects of the community. Other times, they complement each other. Regardless, it is an important influence to the overall cultural landscape of the city and nearby region.

The roots of Catholicism run deep in the area.

Though Presidio County had been inhabited by indigenous tribes for thousand of years, Catholicism started to take root in the region in the 1500s with the arrival of Spanish expeditions across the region. The first Spaniards likely came to area in 1535. Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and his three companions stopped at the Native American pueblo, placed a cross on the mountainside and called the village La Junta de las Cruces (at a site south of modern day Marfa near the modern-day City of Presidio). The history of St. Mary’s Parish dates to 1875 when Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission was established in Marfa in a small building west of the present town limits.

[St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Marfa, Texas], photograph, 1964; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth87871/m1/1/: accessed May 16, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Marfa Public Library.

More background on St. Mary’s Catholic Church

In 1889 the population of Marfa and the surrounding area became great enough that Our Lady of Guadalupe was established as a parish. As a parish, Marfa gained its own resident priest.

The cornerstone of the present day building is dated 1889. However, the people ran out of funds and building was delayed for a time. During this time, services were held in a building which had been a wool storehouse. When funds again became available, the church was finished.

From the time the parish was established in 1889 with one priest until 1912 when there were four priests, there was no rectory. The priests lived in the back rooms of the church building. A rectory was finally built in 1912.

Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Marfa, Texas, photograph, Date Unknown; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth87869/m1/1/: accessed May 16, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Marfa Public Library.

At one time, Marfa actually had two Catholic churches. In 1917 a second church, Sacred Heart Church, was built at the northwest corner of Highland Ave. and San Antonio St. It was dedicated on December 27, 1917. That same year Our Lady of Guadalupe Church was enlarged and remodeled. In 1945, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church was again enlarged. The name of the Church was changed to St. Mary’s.

In 1959, St. Mary’s Church and Sacred Heart Church were made one and the Sacred Heart property was sold. St. Mary’s was again enlarged. Furnishings and materials from the Sacred Heart Church, including adobe bricks and the stained glass windows, were used to renovate and beautify St. Mary’s Church. (Primary Source: https://churchmarfa.blogspot.com/)

Credit: The Foundation for the Diocese of El Paso
Reportedly, the 1927 interior. Credit: [Interior of St. Mary’s Catholic church in the late 1920s],photograph, 1927~;(https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth39711/m1/1/: accessed May 16, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Marfa Public Library.
St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Marfa, January 19, 2007 –C.E. Hunt
St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Marfa, January 19, 2007 –C.E. Hunt
St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Marfa, January 19, 2007 –C.E. Hunt

Per a 1960’s history of the church, the church is, like many historic Marfa structures, constructed of adobe blocks. The exterior walls are reported to be three feet thick. Like Saint Mary’s and its history, this preponderance of adobe architecture is just another special aspect of the City of Marfa.

St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Marfa, January 19, 2007 –C.E. Hunt

Mas de Peuch (or Steve’s place in Southern France)

In A Moveable Marfa, Steve rents a gîte on an old farm not far from Calvisson and Sommières in Languedoc (about 22 km from Nîmes). He wants to get away from Paris and his curious group of friends there and write. The area around the gîte is a beautiful area featuring many small villages, vineyards and olive groves.

April 2004, C E Hunt All Rights Reserved

Here is the patio where Steve writes his “Great American novel” and philosophizes with Brites well into the wee hours of the morning.

April 2004, C E Hunt All Rights Reserved

Here is the front of Steve’s gîte. Small but quite welcoming and perfect for his writing.

Villevielle, next to Sommières, has an olive cooperative where locals can bring their olives to be pressed for oil. Steve and his Brazilian friend, Brites, visit it in the book.

April 2004, C E Hunt All Rights Reserved
April 2004, C E Hunt All Rights Reserved

I’ll share more on Sommières in the future. It plays a key role in the book.

———————————————

Toshiba Digital Camera

I myself was fortunate enough to visit the cooperative “one day” and had a wonderful chat with Jean François Thurmond, the manager. It was the first time I had the opportunity to do an olive oil tasting. Jean was a very nice chap. I was learning French at the time, and he somehow understood me rather well. For that, I had an instant admiration for him.

Stacy’s Gift to Steve (or be open to the little things)

See anything in the above photo of Julia Street in New Orleans?

Yeah, I didn’t think so. But you could have…

This is Steve’s acknowledgement to Stacy that she had opened his eye to new things. Let’s go back and drill down in the above photo a bit more.

Let’s take a bit closer look at this unusual, tiny structure.

A few interesting features start to pop out. For one thing, the grill work is extraordinary.

Now, I’m not saying this is unqualified beauty, as if there were such a thing, but I’m sure almost every driver fails to see these nice features, probably most pedestrians in fact.

And this being New Orleans, something totally unexpected and inexplicable MUST happen. I never expected the Queen to wave at me through the grilled window!

Slow down, let a little of Stacy rub off on you, if of course, you’ve read the book.

If you haven’t, there’s a way to make this happen. It might make you a better person. Okay, well maybe, … I mean, it could happen.

Enjoy and be inspired!

Galería del Sol

Steve’s art gallery is introduced early on in A Moveable Marfa, page 7 to be exact. I thought it might be interesting to give the reader a little insight into my inspiration for it to be an important venue in the story.

It was actually back in 2006-2008 when I first started hanging out in Marfa to write the Marfa part of the story. There was this oddly shaped building near the railroad tracks on S. Austin St. that caught my eye. I decided over time that this would be one of the buildings that Uncle Clive would leave Steve. In the novel, Steve lived on Austin Street on the other side of the tracks.

Here’s a picture I took of the “Gallery” to be in January of 2007. C E Hunt All Rights Reserved

Now, of course, this building is known as the Crowley Theater, a cultural arts center, but in 2007, I saw the Galería del Sol. A place where Steve would grow in his relationship with Stacy and Pilar and meet the formidable “Paco.” Some of these characters are loosely inspired by real people, but for legal reasons, I won’t say which characters are based on real people and which ones are purely fictitious. This is true of many of the characters in the book in Marfa and France. Anyway, I saw the gallery being full of interesting art with maybe a studio or two in the back.

To give you an idea of the overall setting, this cool building sits across the tracks from the Crowley Theater today.

NOLA by Night

New Orleans has a very different personality by night. Far from Bourbon Street and the French Quarter, a somber, dignified city awaits, reflecting an interesting blend of old and new. Many of the buildings of the Warehouse District and Central Business District were built throughout the 1800s. Many were added in the 1900s and some are very new, but often at least somewhat sympathetic to their surroundings.

Sadly, many tourist never see much of this side of New Orleans. Maybe because of the quiet and lack of crowds, one can better get a real sense of place.

Don’t forget to peer inside places as well.

Art galleries evoke a strange loneliness late at night.

My mind races thinking about writing a short story about a mysterious character slowly walking down the rain soaked street pictured below!

Spend some time across this great city. Inspiration is everywhere.

For all content — C E Hunt All Rights Reserved

The 10 Bar

Source: 10 Bar

A couple of scenes take place inside this unusual bar near Jardin de Luxembourg. This bar has pretty much been miraculously preserved since 1955. Originally started by a dude from Spain named Mariano, it’d be hard to find a more authentic, vintage “dive” experience in Paris than this place which can hold about three dozen people. It is kind of like a musty, “Belle Epoque” cave covered with a mixture of Belle Epoque posters and a few touches from the 1970s, especially its 1970’s era juke box.

“Monique’s Perch” – Source: 10 Bar

In A Moveable Marfa, Monique sat in the bench, second from the right, and watches Steve. You’ll have to read the book to find out what comes of this. I wrote this section of the book actually sitting where Steve sat on a rainy night a few years ago. I tried to capture the feel of this special place.

Source: 10 Bar

I recommend you check out the 10 Bar if you find yourself in Paris. The sangria is very good and the setting will stick with you for a long time.

Outside of 10 Bar Odeon

Don’t let the rustic exterior deter you! At 10 rue de l’Odéon,

Round Midnight

Music can be a powerful inspiration. For me at least, it’s important to carefully select a “soundscape” when writing or painting. I sometimes find the music I am listening to guiding, or at least coloring, where I go with my project. It can definitely give me energy and either lift (or lower) my spirits. I have many, almost “curated” playlists depending on the mood I want to set–

Jazz (name of the playlist is “Cocktails on a rainy night in 1969.” Don’t ask me why. I’m a writer maybe?)

  • Round Midnight (Sonny Rollins)
  • Darn That Dream (Dexter Gordon)
  • Remember (Hank Mobley)
  • Soul Station (Hank Mobley)
  • Blue and Green (Miles Davis)
  • Kind of Blue (Miles Davis)
  • Blue Train (John Coltrane)
  • September Song (Django Reinhardt)
  • Just One Chance (Dinah Washington) See page 74 of A Moveable Marfa
  • Please Send Me Someone To Love (T-Bone Walker) Okay, that’s really blues
  • Embraceable You (Sarah Vaughan)

Modern (relatively, okay some are a bit old)

Western (Not a huge fan but I occasional get in a mood for “Honky Tonk”, good roadtrip music, see page 251 of A Moveable Marfa ).

  • I’ll Be Leaving (Kristin Diable) From near New Orleans, Baton Rouge, plays locally
  • My River (Kristin Diable) She’s worth seeing live.
  • I Want To Know Her Again (The Wagoneers)
  • Stout and High (The Wagoneers)
  • Guitars, Cadillacs (Dwight Yoakam) Saw him in Knoxville once, the best concert!
  • Honky Tonk Man (Dwight Yoakam)
  • Long White Cadillac (Dwight Yoakam) Perhaps the best Country song ever! Think of this song playing as Steve goes to pick up Pilar in El Paso. Click the link to see a pretty good video.
  • The Streets Of Bakersfield (Dwight Youkam) I know, sorry, I love Dwight
  • Just Call Me Lonesome (Radney Foster)
  • Burn Me Down (Marty Stuart) Perhaps the “honkiest” Honky Tonk song ever.

NOLA Nightclub (Think of this playlist playing very loudly in the underground Bar on Avenue Foch on page 175 of A Moveable Marfa. Remember? The guy chugging Vodka from the bottle? I really saw it.)

  • Crazy (Felon, Lauren L’aimant)
  • Timeout (Felon)
  • Hide & Seek (Felon)
  • My Friend (January Embers featuring Lauren L’aimant)
  • Run Free (Apres featuring Lauren L’aimant)
  • Deny My Love (Kingdom 7 featuring Lauren L’aimant)
  • Back Where We Started (Mark Mckenzie featuring Lauren L’aimant)
  • Swell (Dub Mix, Mark Mckenzie featuring Lauren L’aimant)
  • Lounge (Chill Lounge Music Cafe)
  • Hiding (Icarus)
  • Moments (Felon featuring Lauren L’aimant) Okay, I also love Lauren L’aimant.

Atmospherics (Music that just really affects your mood, if you have a pulse)

  • Breathe Me (Sia)
  • Drops of Jupiter (Train) Saw then twice in Paris.
  • Open Your Eyes (Snow Patrol)
  • Spiritual Spiritual (B Tribe)
  • I Just Tell Myself (Balligomingo)
  • Tiny Vessels (Death Cab for Cutie)
  • Letoile featuring the Max the Sax (Parov Stelar)
  • Blacking Out The Friction (Death for Cutie)
  • She Moves Through The Fair (B Tribe)
  • Coy (Wild Colonials)
  • Middledistancerunner (Chicane)
  • Saltwater (Chicane)
  • Brothers On A Hotel Bed (the ultimate atmospheric song), love the spare beginning, click to check out an incredible video with Lauren Mayberry

Okay, well that’s too many, but really it only slight scratches the surface of the music that inspires me.

…Oh yeah, I forgot, practically anything by the Rolling Stones! Saw then in July, they are the BEST. I didn’t even include my Classic Rock list. It’s kind of predictable.

Street Art as Inspiration

Tonight I noticed a sculpture I had seen countless times, but this time was different, very different. In the “neutral ground” as New Orleanians like to call a median, there she was, dancing away. I thought she was supposed to be a gymnast, but tonight on this cool evening in the Crescent City, she was dancing beneath the palms.

Enrique Alferez’s Gymnast — C E Hunt All Rights Reserved

I made my way to the neutral ground and sought to capture her from every direction.

— C E Hunt All Rights Reserved

She was a thing of beauty, and the palm fronds gently swaying in the night breezes only added to the choreography.

— C E Hunt All Rights Reserved
— C E Hunt All Rights Reserved

I hope you can see her dance sometime. You could say she performs nightly…

Note on the Artist: Given my interest in Art, Mexico and History, I find Enrique Alferez intriguing as well as inspiring. He was the son of a Mexican artist and spent part of his early life in the army of Pancho Villa during the Mexican Revolution before coming to the United States. He studied art in Chicago in the 1920s, then moved to New Orleans in 1929, where he lived until his death in 1999. His sculptures and reliefs adorn many parks, buildings, and landmarks in New Orleans and throughout South Louisiana, including the wonderful Helis Foundation Enrique Alférez Sculpture Garden.