Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Devil's Day Drive: McKellar & Simpson Houses

It was Devil's Day 2014 and I was lost in the middle of nowhere under an overcast sky, hundreds of kilometres from home. With no cell service and a gas tank chugging and running on fumes I had no option but to pull over and wait on the side of a desolate stretch of dirt road. It was over 20 minutes before a vehicle finally crested the horizon, kicking up dust and filling me with a sense of long anticipated relief.

Soon after, with a full tank of gas thanks to the help of kind strangers, I was back to my mission; the list of abandoned houses plotted out on my Devil's Day Drive, the first of which being the McKellar House.


It's not so easy to get lost anymore, is it? Lost in thought however, a different story, especially in a place like this. I stood alone mulling over those same questions that arise in every abandoned house with contents remaining...

...Who were the McKellar's? What made them tick? What were their hobbies and occupations? What sort of lives were lived here in this old rural farmhouse? Who am I really? What will I leave behind and what will it say about me?

Feeling inspired, I sat down on the dirty couch and wrote a few quick rhymes on my phone, as I'm all to well aware that all I will leave behind are my words...

"Time waits for no man, even this nomad scribbling in his notepad knows that.
Hold that thought like an old frozen pose from a Kodak throwback."

"I view the world from a very personal perspective,
I've worshipped worthlessness and elected to wallow in the hurt.
I've purposely disconnected and erected statues out of bad news.
Lived through a childhood trauma, only to get it tattooed."

"I had a flashback from my past, I didn't want to live,
so I wrote a suicide note and threw it off a bridge."

These were some of my favourites rhymes I'd written in a long time and a spark was lit within me.

House of TVs

I stood up and wiped from the debris from my jeans before continuing to explore and photograph the McKellar House, while freestyling in my head and conceiving a new song. I stopped repeatedly to take note of certain lines once the theme had emerged, using the house as my muse.















And then I did as the McKellar's did before me and left the house behind forever.

With endless stretches of dirt roads and farmer's fields behind me, I arrived at the Simpson House with an urge to continue writing and bring this experience full circle. I've always enjoyed finding bizarre places to sit and write rhymes and these abandoned houses had such great vibes.


For over an hour, I paced in front of the broken piano, which was leaning forward into a large hole in the floor, and I wrote a song called 'Kindling'...

"We burn out when we carry old flames, no names
but we wear that like varicose veins
We learn how to burn this buried cold pain 
like kindling, kindling, the stereo is playing.

I light the match and as the paper ignites
I get flashbacks of you being all playful and nice
These memories of you are no safer at night
So I pile the kindling high, hoping to reignite
this burning effigy, without you I'm a refugee
You left me in the dead of sleep
with nothing but a head of steam
and a recipe for yesterday's incessant dreams
Kindling on the fire, pyre, may you rest in peace
In my memories at least, you've been unleashed in 'em
We never speak but you know you're free to leave
Hope flies the moment the smoke rises
I remember those eyes, I saw forever go by in 'em

We burn out when we carry old flames, no names
but we wear that like varicose veins
We learn how to burn this buried cold pain 
like kindling, kindling, the stereo is playing.

A solemn oath, broken, a fallen oak
Now but a nurse log coated in mosses and other growths
I had to cut you out, now I have to cut you up
with nothing but forgotten love... to make kindling
We're reunited in the flames, it could never be the same
'cause forever doesn't change like the weather or the shame
Embers are in flames under cold November rain
and I know that it's insane but I miss you I'm afraid
if the fire dies my memories will fade
and my reply is... that'll be the day
My desires have all been rearranged
I sit fireside wide eyed and engaged

We burn out when we carry old flames, no names 
but we wear that like varicose veins
We learn how to burn this buried cold pain 
like kindling, kindling, the stereo is playing."

Curtain call

And then I explored the Simpson House.















Sometimes it seems like a moment can last a lifetime, but in the grand scheme of things our lifetimes only last a moment.

click here to check out all of jerm & ninja IX's ABANDONMENT ISSUES


Mary Ann Wamboldt said...

Hi there, I have been reading your blog for some time now and I absolutely love it. I wanted to know it if you would ever consider showing your work and telling stories about some of the places you have been to. I'm the VP of the Kingston Photo Club and each year we choose speakers to come to our club meeting to share their work, advice etc. What you do is very unique and know that the club members would love to hear about it. We have our program set for the year except for our end of year banquet. We give out awards, have a great dinner and have a speaker for the evening. Speakers get treated to a nice dinner, desert and receive a small monetary gift for coming. It's not a lot but not a bad way to spend an evening either.
I was hoping you may consider it, although it wouldn't be until May 2016. If you think you might be interested or you just have questions, I would love to hear from you. Either way, keep up the good work. :-)

wellfed said...

When I had my own blog I'd see the page views and often wondered who was reading my stuff. So now when I stumble across something that makes me feel like I've met a kindred spirit- I like to say "hey, nice work."

Ditto what Mary Ann said. I'm a member of the Barrie photo club and would love to hear a presentation someday. Seeing as how I'm currently on contract flying an A320 around Asia- might be a year or two before I'd ever catch up with you but please keep the blog going!

greetings from Osaka.