Tod Brilliant ||  Photography

This Guy

So this one is a bit inexplicable. That said, I can explain about the Matador Motel in Chico, California. This is a place that I’ve been coming to for fifteen years to escape and, mostly, hole away to get writing done. Dog friendly, inexpensive, great pool, ten feet from Big Al’s … it may turn off the wine country crowd with its lack of amenities and quality towels, but the place really shines when it comes to being quintessentially Chico. Two nights, $110. Boom. Done. Sold.

Plus, there was this guy. In his inflatable raft.

My Flag

I drive by this flag whenever I visit Chico, California. It was beautiful, really, to stop this time and take a few photos. Cathartic, in a very light, sweet way. Two years ago, I drove past this on my way to my mother’s hospital room … rushing as I didn’t know if she’d still be alive when I got there. And yet, the photographer in me made me stop and snap some quick self-portraits as the light was perfect and, frankly, I think I just needed the momentary distraction. Two days later, she was gone and the photos of me in front of this flag always vividly bring her to mind. It’s nice to have a new subject, in a new time, to remind me that life moves relentlessly forward.

As for the symbolism of the U.S. flag, I’ve no issue with it. I despise nationalism and those who wave any symbol, be it flag or cross, as a way to justify violence or position themselves in some way superior. But, the stars and stripes do represent my country, flawed and ugly as she (most?) often is. And for fuck’s sake, I was born here, so there’s no way to avoid feeling a sense of reverence for the history I share with 300 million others.

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