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Book Cover for: Location X: A Quest for Place, Eva Rome

Location X: A Quest for Place

Eva Rome

Not all septuagenarians become devoted grandparents, contented gardeners, or avid pickleball players, some still crave risk and adventure. Eva Rome enters her eighth decade and rejects her comfortable, semiretired life, questing for meaning in a place that's a better fit than Disneyfied Santa Fe, New Mexico. In the midst of Covid, she sells her home and hits the road to search for Location X, a place that speaks to who she is. Her investigations take her around the globe, starting in São Paulo, Brazil, on a street named for Diogenes, the Greek cynic who carried a lantern around Athens, shoving it into his fellow citizens' faces and declaring, "I'm looking for a man." Eva holds her own lantern up to the world and proclaims, "I'm looking for a place." Her investigations take her from São Paulo to Mexico to Uncertain, Texas, to retirement hot spots in Costa Rica and Panamá, Spain, Italy, and Portugal. Archangel Michael, whom she learns is her guardian spirit, makes appearances and offers guidance.

X is used to describe something vague or mysterious, like Mr. X, Brand X, X-ray. X is the place on a pirate's map that marks where treasure is buried. In an algebraic equation, X is an unknown quantity, and solving for X was the process to which Eva dedicated herself. X symbolizes a crossroads.

Location X is an unconventional memoir/travelogue of Eva's eighteen-month quest and what she discovered along the way, a compilation of reflections and reactions to quotidian experiences written in both diary form and as short fiction and presented in chronological order. During those eighteen months, Eva relocated over forty times, sometimes returning to her previous home base New Mexico, and when she needed to conserve resources, she accepted housesitting jobs for vacationing pet owners in Oregon, Texas, and Massachusetts. Diary entries record travel challenges, the struggles and triumphs of adapting to new places, observations of unfamiliar cultures, interactions with people and places, with her relocation criteria continuously running in the background. Sometimes a place or an experience-in El Paso and in Rome, while perusing a menu in a México City restaurant, and in a Fort Davis, Texas, travel trailer-inspired a piece of short fiction written in the third person using a proxy named Colleen. Colleen is derived from the Irish name Cailleach, meaning "old woman"; the Cailleach is a divine hag and wise woman who created the Celtic landscape. At an advanced age, don't we all want the freedom to create our own personal landscapes? These associations appealed to Eva.

Eva gives herself time to become comfortable with the physicality of each place she visits. She evaluates a set of criteria she has established for herself: Is it easy to understand the layout and to get around, do I like the architecture, infrastructure, and other design elements, is the weather tolerable, is there a grocery store within walking distance, do its citizens seem happy and how likely is it that they'll be accepting of a newcomer, is my favorite brand of toothpaste available, etc., etc.? If a place can tick all the boxes, great; but for Eva, it's not only about self-interest. It's also about finding a community that values all its members. It's about finding ways to contribute.

The peripatetic lifestyle can seem both chaotic and revelatory, depending on one's outlook. What it does do, for sure, is force focus on personal priorities. During the process of discovering Location X, Eva kept these three simple questions at the fore: Can I envision living my life in this place? Can I connect to my adopted community in meaningful ways? Can I envision taking my final breath here without reservation? After literally dodging a bullet in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, Eva realized the place met her criteria for relocation, and stayed.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Blue Morpho Press New Mexico
  • Publish Date: Oct 30th, 2023
  • Pages: 396
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 8.50in - 5.50in - 1.03in - 1.40lb
  • EAN: 9780967899572
  • Categories: GeneralGeneralGeneral

About the Author

Rome, Eva: - Eva Rome (Laurie McDonald) is a writer and a media artist. She has published three books, written feature-length screenplays and short stories. Her narrative nonfiction book "Travel for STOICs" empowers the solo traveler who is obsessive, introverted, and compulsive, informed by ancient Stoicism; and her collection of semiserious semiotic essays "What It Means: Myth, Symbol, and Archetype in the Third Millennium, Vol. 1," examines how myth, symbol, and archetype manifest in everyday American life in the early third millennium. In "Location X: A Quest for Place," a septuagenarian who still craves risk and adventure ditches her home and hits the road in search of a singular place that offers meaning beyond the mainstream. She has designed books, graphics for print and video, built websites, and manages a blog called "Our Childhood Homes: Stories About Place." In the early 1970s, she was a founding member of the video art collective Electron Movers, Research in the Electronic Arts, and her video art can be viewed here: www.lauriemcdonald.net. She has received a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and four American Film Institute/NEA Fellowships, and her video art has been exhibited internationally.