X still marks the SPot In My Heart
Two years ago I began researching a book I wanted to write about
a contemporary phenomenon that’s become quite controversial here in the
precious metal laden western United States.
But then my aged mother’s health began to fail and the time
I had set aside to report the basic facts of this book instantly evaporated. However,
I’ve never given up on my idea for this book and I’m about to literally plunge
back into the project this winter. I’m quite coy about the specific topic of
this book but based on a lifetime career as a reporter I have a solid understanding
of how comprehensive the research for this project needs to be.
The bad news is; it’s going to take three over-winter months
to collect and assimilate the basic information to present my topic. On top of that,
I estimate it will take another six months to do the field reporting associated
with this topic. The golden part of this project is: I can do much of the grunt
work in and within one day’s drive of my favorite California towns; Sacramento
or nearby Placerville, Auburn, Grass Valley and Marysville.
For the last six months I’ve used spare time to amass
quantitative information with the several public agencies that are directly or indirectly
involved with the people who are involved in this fast growing trend. Fortunately,
the contacts I’ve made among law enforcement agencies in north Central
California have already delivered a couple of interesting tips and court cases.
In order to find a publisher, any book needs a platform.
Mine combines: the raw entrepreneurial spirit that defined the west since its
earliest time, native resources, greed, an immutable resource an th e razor
edge balance to keep vital western resources-(water being the best example)
available for recreational, agricultural and society’s use. Set against this
are groups of people, often working alone and fearful of being observed, who
define “barter economies” and who by their vey nature are often colorful.
I now reslize I’ve been preparing to write this book since I
was a young adult and grew intrigued by stories told by wilderness land
surveyors over Holiday dinner desserts that detailed how they had come upon
people far from cities seeking solitude or fortunes in the mountains.
But it wasn’t until I was fully immersed in the entrepreneurial
flood waters as a Demo event producer that I realized that although Silicon
Valley was new, it was merely the 20th Century manifestation of the
classic California dream.
And that’s what I want to capture and present; déjà vu all
So, my back pack is loaded with a digital camera, a new
sleeping bag that can keep me toasty in the 20 degree chill of Sierra Spring
mornings, a comfy foam pad to protect my boney butt from pokey sharp granite
and shale, an ultrabook notebook with a very long battery life, a new cell
phone and the will and ability to show that underneath razor creased khakis and
starched button down shirts, the spirit and native opportunities that defined
the west are still alive.
Like the song poclaims:…California, here I come, back where I
started from—Jim Forbes on 11/25/2012.