Tuesday, June 16, 2009

America Girl
by Tom Petty

Well she was an American girl
Raised on promises
She couldn't help thinkin' that there
Was a little more to life
Somewhere else
After all it was a great big world
With lots of places to run to
Yeah, and if she had to die
Tryin she had one little promise
She was gonna keep

Oh yeah, all right
Take it easy baby
Make it last all night
She was an American girl

It was kind of cold that night
She stood alone on her balcony
She could the cars roll by
Out on 441
Like waves crashin' on the beach
And for one desperate moment there


"He crept back in her memory
God, its so painful"

"Something that's so close
And still so far out of reach"


Oh yeah, all right
Take it easy, baby
Make it last all night
She was an American girl


For the last 5 years, I have used "American Girl" as the song to help with ordering section two of the complete slideshows and ordering the second aisle of I-95. Two photos that have stayed in the slideshow from the very first incarnation are "Woman Walking at Berks" and "We Love Centralia." They are placed at lyrics that help me get at gender ambiguity, longing, and, most important, the connection between body and landscape and a connection of self to place. And the photos also bounce off each other, echoing a display of resilience and bravado regarding how we make do with limited choices presented to us. The visual connection is obvious, the hearts, but these two must go together because of the story of Centralia, PA. It doesn't make any difference to me if people know about Centralia, it's just important to me in terms of the placement. I was in Centralia recently... still burning.

I heard "America Girl" while I was driving by the Berks El stop this week, which is what started my thought process about these two photos. Every time I hear "American Girl" I have a Pavlovian response and I immediately start working on the sequencing of photos in the second section in my head. Son of a bitch! I'll never have that song back again! But it's worth the sacrifice of tying it so closely to work, those two photos are in it to win in.


Section 2 Works-in-Progress slideshow

1 comment:

Joey B said...

Knowing 441 as intimately as I do, this song has always brought a sense of sadness... reminding me of home.

The stretch through Payne's Prairie is one of my favorite places on earth.