I’m a journalist/author taking a year to live and work in American traveling carnivals coast to coast.
I’ll be posting about this subculture of carnies, big rigs and the dramas of the road life all year.
I’m counting on the unforeseen. The blog will cover it as I live the ups and downs of this wild ride.
The end result will be a book along the lines of Ted Conover’s early work and what Paul Salopek is doing now with his “Out of Eden Walk.” There’ll be more here than just carnival ramblings.
It will be immersion journalism but seeking the bigger themes running through Americana, dipping into history, academic studies and related subjects. I aim to include pictures and films.
This blog is preparation for the book but it will be a series of vignettes, what kind I am not sure either. But as Ray Bradbury might have said, something this way comes.
Michael Sean Comerford==========================================
I know a bit about the road. I’ve hitchhiked much of American, eastern Canada, Eastern/Western Europe, Middle East and North Africa.
I’ve been on three cross-country bicycle trips from Chicago to Washington D.C., New Orleans (in winter) and Seattle. In Seattle, I threw my bicycle and packs onto a freight train and rode back with hobos and farm workers.
I’ve been to more than 90 countries. I swam the headwaters of the Nile, survived a hippo attack, studied Buddhism in the Himalayas and danced an Irish jig in the Amazon. Perhaps most importantly, I’m the former heavyweight champion of University College Cork, circa. 1980.
I’ve worked with the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Daily Herald, Moscow Times, Budapest Sun, Budapest Business Journal and several Internet publications.
I’ve been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for “Philippines: Arc of the Islanders,” telling the stories of Chicago area Filipino immigrants and their lives back home. That series took me and photographer Mark Welsh to the Philippines for three weeks. (an unintended aside, I interviewed and later accidentally danced with Imelda Marcos).
Other series included sub-Saharan economies; Russia during the Reagan-Gorbachev summit; McDonald’s in China; ‘Race to Tame AIDS’ (about Abbott scientists); and investigations that led to changes in state law and, sometimes, convictions.
I’m also a proud father of a happy, bright-eyed grade school daughter. Separation anxiety will be a feeling I believe I’ll be sharing with carnies.