I moved to Boston, Massachusetts. I miss my friends, the Texas heat (only relative to the chilly Northeastern wind), barbecue, queso, etc.
And I miss being 6 hours away from Marfa, Texas.
a town where artistic ideas and concepts have come to fruition
Or as Wikipedia describes it,
Marfa is a tourist destination and a major center for Minimalist art. Attractions include Building 98, the Chinati Foundation, artisan shops, historical architecture, a classic Texas town square, modern art installments, art galleries, and the Marfa lights.
let me explain,
I have a standard, universally shared difficulty with execution. (a cool life experiment for this problem)
I want to become self-actualized, see the Pyramids, write a book, get a dog, plant a tree, save money, go on a diet, pay my bills, bake some muffins, take a shower, put on makeup, eat a banana and the list goes on. It’s definitely easier to do some things than others, and the more reasons not to do something there are, the harder it is to do it.
e. g. I want to write a book.
list of excuses:
- I don’t have any ideas
- I have an idea but I don’t know enough about anthropology to write about my anthropologist main character (Currently reading Picture Perfect by Jodi Picoult by the way)
- I am an anthropologist trying to write about my anthropologist protagonist but I can’t decide if she is a brunette or has a pixie cut or is bald and undergoing chemotherapy
- I am an anthropologist trying to write about my anthropologist protagonist who is bald and undergoing chemotherapy but I don’t have enough time to write more than one chapter
- I am an anthropologist trying to write about … and I’ve written all the chapters (all 23 let’s say) but my mom read it and decided she didn’t understand the plot point about the anthropologist’s dog, Carrot
- I am an anthropologist trying to write about…. and I wrote a beautiful metaphor about Carrot and the desire to be healthy but I’m afraid no publisher will publish it
- I am an anthropologist… and Random House has picked up my book and is going to publish it but I’m afraid fame and publicity will ruin my life
- +1,234,567 million more reasons not to see my idea to the end
back to Marfa,
Somebody had ideas and acted
- WRONG Marfa (somebody wanted to paint a giant tentacled sea monster dragging down a ship with the caption “whatever floats your boat”)
- Chinati Foundation (somebody wanted to put fluorescent colored bars in an empty room and transform a German prison camp into an art gallery)
- the Sam Falls exhibit (somebody wanted to make a seemingly never-ending video of the word “NOW” being redrawn over and over in the sand after the waves wash it away)
- Museum of Electric Wonders and Late-Night Grilled Cheese (somebody wanted to transform a small room into a display of old electronic televisions and radios AND serve grilled cheese to people in that same room)
Somebody was creatively unafraid and did something about it.
I took two trips to Marfa in 2015. I’m honestly quite proud of that achievement because as I explained, I’m quite good at excuse-making and the 6-hour drive was almost excuse enough not to make it out there.
Fair warning: once you go, you might fall in love with it.
(It’s a little scary how beautiful and quiet the place is. If you’ve never really faced your fear of the quiet and deserted, this is also a good place to fully embrace it.)
My mish-mash of all sorts of tips:
- There’s a Marfa Lights playlist on Spotify for Spotify users who want to get in the mood on the drive there (unsolicited Spotify recommendation)
- Drive carefully and follow every speed limit / no driving in the left lane rule to a tee – otherwise you WILL get pulled over
- I wouldn’t recommend eating at a fancy restaurant like Cochineal – the food isn’t incredibly special, service is a little slow (not horrible but we waited for drinks for a long time), and it feels a little overpriced – Marfa isn’t about the fancy food, it’s about the pop-up-out-of-nowhere local businesses and idiosyncrasies
- People watch 😉
- Walk around and don’t feel like you need to drive
- Check the weather – it’s a little colder here than the rest of Texas because of the empty land
- I used airbnb for both trips and it was just a fun, interesting experience staying in a house in Marfa (one was near the main street and the other near the high school) – El Cosmico was my back-up choice, but airbnb is a little more private and somewhat cheaper if you split it between friends
And lastly, I understand there’s a lot of controversy over Marfa becoming a tourist town and diluting its authenticity. However, my personal opinion is that people who want to drive 6+ hours can respectfully bask in the strangeness of Marfa.
See below for a full list of activities during my visits to Marfa.
Things I did
- Ballroom Marfa
- Marfa Contemporary
- exhibitions 2d
- Prada Marfa
- Chinati Foundation tour
- Bunz n’ Roses,
- Do Your Thing Marfa coffee
- Frama located in Tumbleweed Laundry
- Midnight grilled cheese
- Planet Marfa beer garden
- Climbed Marfa City Hall
- Went to Dairy Queen
- Saw (?) the Marfa lights (surreal…)
- Bought a book at Marfa Book Co
Things I tried to do and didn’t
- Food Shark
- Marfa Burrito
- Stay at El Cosmico
- Understand Marfa lights