Thursday, April 28, 2011

Feel the Inspiration of Ghost Towns

I was browsing AOL headlines and came across this really cool picture feature on ghost towns. (Click here for feature.)

It's all about some of the eeriest abandoned cities all over the globe. Sometimes I wonder if we really are all connected by some underlying consciousness because just yesterday I was thinking about how much I enjoy (and maybe even want to write) stories about the world in a state of dystopia--stories about a possible future in which few humans are left, and the world's cities are abandoned, leaving those few survivor souls to carry on or die in the vastness.

To me, the whole ghost town look is like melancholy art. I find a certain beauty in it. Just imagine the immense quiet that would accompany an entire town being abandoned. Imagine the thoughts that might float to your brain as you stand in the midst of such a graveyard.

One of my favorite books is The Road by Cormac McCarthy. The images McCarthy creates in his abandoned world are haunting and will stay with you for a long time after you close the book.   

What do you think of ghost towns? Creepy? Beautiful? Both?

(Oh, and if you've never read The Road, you need to get your butt to a bookstore and check that one out. It's absolutely amazing.)

Happy Thursday, everybody!


  1. I love buildings in a state of deterioration and disrepair. It's fun - and useful, I think - to imagine what hidden treasures and epic stories they will forever conceal.

    The sprawling one in Turkey was my favorite. That is my idea of a prize ghost town. I could forage and plunder there forever.

    The Road is near and dear to my heart.

    I didn't want to read it because: (A.) No Country For Old Men was a spectacular disappointment. (B.) It's hard be enthusiastic about an apocalyptic story line when I see one coming. (C.) Suttree is a my favorite novel ever, barely edging out As I Lay Dying. I have this thing about messing with perfection, and I was disturbingly content to stop with Suttree - especially after No Country.

    But my wife was insistent I read it, and it's very uncommon for her to be so adamant about a book selection, so I relented. As you noted, The Road is a stunning book; the kind one reads with a furrowed brow, deep breaths and the occasional unstoppable tear. A work of terrible beauty. McCarthy's ability to convey so much with so little - his trademark stripped down prose is like a magic trick I'll never be able to deconstruct.

  2. "Terrible beauty" is right. He does strip the prose down--I kinda think he did it because humanity was stripped down. There's less order in that world, so less order in the writing. I'm glad you relented and read it. ;) Sometimes wives have good suggestions--I had my husband read it, too, and he thought it was good as well.