Of Deserts and Dead Sea-Bottoms by Lisa V. Tomecek

Other Stuff

Lisa V. Tomecek is is the author of the upcoming novel Oath of Blood and is a friend of Edgar Rice Burroughs, The John Carter Files, and assorted denizens here at JCF.  I’ve had the pleasure of corresponding with her lately on Facebook — and today she’s published a wonderful post on her blogsite.   Here are the first two paragraphs and a link to the rest of the article.  Highly recommended.  And by the way, there’s a lovely mention of JCG and the letter recently published here by 82 year old ERBophile Thomas McGurk if you click on the link at the end of the excerpt.

Of Deserts and Dead Sea-Bottoms

I am one of those people who finds meaning in ritual. Not necessarily a spiritual or religious kind of ritual–though those can certainly have their merits–but the word at the root sense of its meaning: the repetition of meaningful action. I find these sorts of things, when purposefully done, to have a refreshing and grounding effect on the psyche. They help to clarify things that have become clouded, to clear out the cobwebs that slowly and surely accrete in the corners of our lives.

One of the great mental cleansing rituals to which I subscribe is the vacation, and within the context of vacation, if I am to be traveling, the passing of the long hours with audiobooks. It should come as no surprise, then, that when my husband Ryan and I set out this past week for the deserts of West Texas in what was part research trip, part escape from the drudgery of daily life, we passed the time in just that way. Nor should it come as any shock that, being the sort of person I am (and, thankfully, the sort of person he is) we filled those hours with the adventures of Edgar Rice Burroughs‘ first hero, the peerless John Carter of Mars.

That, too, is a bit of a ritual–at least for me. I tend to associate the deserts of the Southwest withBarsoom, and any time I point myself in that direction, I am inclined to touch base with the part of me that finds so much significance in those stories. But I am (of course) getting ahead of myself. As befits the subject, there’s a long story that will make sense of why and how and when all that began for me–and why it still matters today, especially as concerns my own writing life.

Read the rest here.


  • As I also live in the American southwest I too have imagined I’m on Mars when I go out in the sticks. It’s just that urban sprawl has made that trek a bit farther than it use to be.

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