My ten top stories, the ones that keep finding new readers

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You guys surprise me, you readers. Looking at the stats for my stories what I see is that the stories you like are all over the map. You visit stories about crappy movies I worked on, tales of fast cars and bikes, childhood memories, thoughts about photography, a mixed bag for sure. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, I’m the one who remembered them, asked them what they were about, wrote them down. But now, seeing them all together in a list I wonder why out of everything they are the ones that call you over time.

I don’t have a ready answer to the question though, so let’s leave it for another day. Instead, here’s the list so you can ponder it for yourselves. Here are my top ten stories in terms of reader response, your favorites over time. If you haven’t read these stories already give them a try. …

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John Simmons, ASC — opening night at the Perfect Exposure Gallery

When this thing is over there will still be gas stations and liquor stores, and places to eat fast food. Doctors and grocers will survive, and a host of others, but I’m afraid a lot of the galleries will be gone.

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Not all of them of course, the richest and most successful are going to make it — but the smaller ones — the ones that were lifestyle businesses or labors of love, most of them will be gone. In time, new ones will spring up to take their place. …

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Looking East, Highway 108 near the Sonora Pass

What pleasure there is in being out in the world. I just came back from a week in the High Sierras, staying (carefully) with friends in their cabin and making pictures of mountains and desert towns and the roads that connect them. I was careful and stayed distanced but still had the exquisite pleasure of seeing new faces and talking with strangers, a fresh stimulation of all the human senses.

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Lunchtime on the road, Wellington, NV

If this sounds daunting, we took a few steps to make it less so. All the driving was day trips, so no motels, and we drove with food and water in the car, so no restaurants. Instead, we searched out little city parks along our way. We found them empty, with clean bathrooms and pleasantly shaded tables. In lieu of a motel, for the longest stretch, I brought a blanket and a pillow and napped on the grass after lunch, something worth doing even when this crazy time is over. …

Sharing lies and misinformation even by accident is a good way to kill someone now

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A friend sent me a well-made video recently about breathing warm air to kill viruses in the sinus. It seemed plausible and the video didn’t look like the work of a crackpot, but oops! Once I checked out the guy (who claimed he was a doctor) it became clear he was not a doctor of medicine but rather a “Futurologist”! Want to trust your life to a self-proclaimed futurologist? Not me, and no medical professionals either. My friend who passed this information on meant well but reliance on it could hurt people or worse. I did what I do nowadays. I wrote him privately, told him he had been burned by bullshit, cited the correct information and asked him to take it down right away. He did. If he hadn’t, I’d have commented on his post and called the BS for what it was. …

fear is further away when you are walking in the landscape, and for a little while, we didn’t want to live in fear.

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Joshua Tree

Life has inertia. It rolls on even when we tell it to stop. I make pictures and tell stories, and that keeps me busy and gives me a sense of purpose in the world. But now, that world has gone away. We told it to come to an end a couple of weeks ago, and it did. That makes sense, of course, it just doesn’t “make sense” to the me that is always doing things. …

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These days, the skies are the hues of Technicolor Hollywood

These days the skies of Los Angeles are always blue, amazing blue, the blue of Renaissance painting or travel magazine illustrations. The virus that keeps us out of our cars has reduced traffic by so much that our smog-free sky is revealed. This is the Los Angeles we remember, the one that brought us here to live by the millions, the traffic easy, the skies impossible shades of blue.

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In the late afternoon light, the layers of old Los Angeles are all revealed

Darcy and I walk about in our neighborhood, chatting with the neighbors, smiling at their children, making hugging arm motions from a distance. We are happy for human contact. …

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It’s been busy this morning lying on the chaise; warm breezes stirred my skin, spring brought life to plants around me.

I’ve been watching a squirrel make her way along the powerline before jumping to the Elm tree at the back of the yard.

On the Elm tree, she darts forward, unconcerned by its height, unbaffled by its maze. She comes closer to the Sycamore, pauses. Leaping into space, she lands on its branch, saunters to a place high over my head, peers down to see if I am comfortable.

Watching her, I understand I am the only creature in the garden with a voice inside that says, “why haven’t you done anything today.” Why me? …

The roads and towns, and the people of Central Kansas

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The fields go on forever

All our travels had been leading to a destination, Dale Keesecker’s farm, and his huge collection of vintage motorcycles, and finally, we were there. I had no idea what to expect except 60 plus motorcycles.

Well, Dale’s place is pretty big; there’s no other way to describe it. He has 5000 acres of crops feeding 1800 sows who make god knows how many piglets, all of it happening in a carefully controlled, environmentally thoughtful manner. Dale is not a guy in bib overalls but a sophisticated 21st-century farmer. …

The roads and towns of Central Kansas, and the people who live there

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Wilson, early morning light

In the early morning light, Wilson is mythic. Limestone buildings, coal sheds, and the railroad tracks cutting through the town all connections to an earlier time.

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Railroad tracks cutting through Wilson

About

Andy Romanoff

One part of me knows it doesn’t matter if you read these stories or not, the other part thinks it might be the reason I’m here. Thanks for reading.

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