Welcome to the second post of the Great Writing Challenge of 2012.
Five days a week for six months, I will be given a topic to write about. The stipulation: it must be 250 words (or more), and positive in tone.
If you would like to suggest topics for me to write about, please email me at therebeccaproject [at] gmail [dot] com.
In a recent New York Times posting, ‘An American Dream – In Switzerland?’, it discussed a photographer Yann Gross’ travels around a section of Switzerland where the locals have adopted what I would associate as the culture of the American South: honkey tonk, tattoos, Confederate flags, line dancing, motorbike clubs, drag racing, trailers, roadside diners.
Gross published a book, Horizonville, of his travels through this industrial region of one of the world’s most scenically breathtaking countries. His subjects have woven a fascination for American culture into their lives and produced a Swiss-American hybrid, and Horizonville explores the connection to America in the context of living life in the Rhone Valley.
What’s interesting to note that most of those people photographed for the book were Swiss who had never travelled to the United States. They’re living the ‘American Dream’, but in the Swiss Alps.
“They feel a sense of belonging to another culture that they don’t really know. Far from the Swiss stereotypes… [they exist in] a dreamed reality that doesn’t exist in facts.” — Photographer and Author, Yann Gross.
The appeal of the foreign is something I can relate to: it has captivated me from an early age. In much the same way as those in the Swiss-American subculture, literature and films took me to far off places. When I was in high school, I daydreamed about living in the US. More than any other place, this country has captured my imagination, but in a different way to those Gross photographed. I may not be tattooed, dig drag racing and fly the Confederate flag proudly from my windows in the most liberal city in the US, but I understand the appeal of freedom. The sense of freedom resonates with all.