PERSONAL ESSAYS AND VISIONS from 7,000 feet. For some of us who end up in the Terrible High Desert™ and mountains of northern New Mexico, the starkness is a kind of medicine. There’s something alien and ancient here that doesn’t need us… Subscribe to this and you will have a taste.
From the introduction to ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE: Notes from Taos:
“You're one of the few who arrived and immediately experienced the spiritual imagination of the place and appreciated it in an articulate and instinctive way. What intrigues me is how many people move here and are tone deaf. I can't figure out why they are here since they might as well live in Colorado: beautiful but soulless...the chthonic spirits are absent. ‘Course sometimes a man needs relief from the resonating spirits. They can drive you mad.”
-Bill Whaley: Taos writer (Gringo Lessons), publisher (Horse Fly)
This newsletter is a showcase for my latest work and previously published essays that still make me proud. Most of GODDAMN BUFFALO will always be free (just choose “none” in the signup panel), but I’ve added a paid subscription option to keep the engine running. Gracias.
I’ve been writing and publishing online since the mid-‘90s. See my main website JHFARR.COM for 900+ blog posts, photos, and contact info—all searchable via keywords, dates, categories, & tags—as well as my Amazon author page. My Smugmug photo gallery is an astonishing visual history of our time here. I’m on Twitter, too. Some of you may have heard of me from Zoo Zone, Farr Site, MacFaust, GRACK!, and FarrFeed, all long gone by now. Go visit all the living links and see.
Behold the book that tells how the New Mexico adventure began in ‘99:
No, that’s not a buffalo. From the prologue to the above:
WE WERE DRIVING HOME after dark from Taos to San Cristobal the way we usually did, past the Indian lands to the east. As we neared the place where Kathy liked to spot the Pueblo’s dark brown buffalo herd at the foot of the mountain, she stared into the deepening gloom and mused, “They sure would be easier to see if they’d put lights on them.”
Buffalo lights! How utterly improbable yet somehow plausible in the context of this place. Whether she knew it or not, she had created a nugget of myth that would tie us to the great beasts forever, for neither of us would ever pass that way again without remembering.
All you really need to know about me is right here. Nonetheless, there is this bio:
Yes, I was an Air Force brat. Before I graduated from high school (my third), we’d moved over 40 times, counting changes of residence in the same locations (Texas, New York, Maryland, Virginia, and Germany among them). Writing-wise, I’ve been publishing online since 1996. Before then, in some cases long before then, I was a college instructor, woods hippie, groundskeeper, metal sculptor, cartoonist, bronze caster, office manager, artist, rock & roll songwriter, web columnist, online senior news editor, and self-published author. We moved out here from the Eastern Shore of Maryland in ‘99. Almost immediately, Bill Whaley hired me to write a long-running column called “El Emigrante” for his inimitable Horse Fly monthly journal, where I learned some things I still can’t talk about. There was a long stint as a web designer in there, too. Besides the 900+ blog posts mentioned above, you’ll find the years since then chronicled in Buffalo Lights: Maryland to New Mexico, Taos Soul: Love Stories, Heroes, and Wild Adventure, Another Day in Paradise: Notes from Taos, and of course The Helen Chronicles: When Your Mother Falls Apart.
“With all the things you’ve done, why the hell do you need a Substack?”
This newsletter is a showcase for all I’ve ever written as well as new material. My main website is a huge archival treasure. I can pull out hidden masterpieces to publish here. The posts show up in your email and look fantastic on your phone.
I’ve been doing this for over 20 years. There’s now a paid option for you to show your support, for which I humbly thank you. Otherwise just choose “none” in the signup panel to read most of this for free. It’s cool.
☀︎ LOG CABIN HOME IN THE SKY BULLETIN ☀︎ Seeking home w/ trees, water, broadband. Taos County, Santa Fe County. Contact me via encrypted email link below: