The Thumbnail Book Reviews

by John Q McDonald --- 21 July 2004

Chamisa Road with... Paul & Meredith

Doin' the dog in Taos

by Paul Steiner

Well, we say the book is by Paul Steiner because that is who holds the copyright, but there is no author of the book listed, except that it is clearly written by Paul and his partner, Meredith (whose last name I can not find in the book). That copyright, too, is 1971 and this book is very much a product of that era in youth culture. A couple years before, both Paul and Meredith dropped out of the Bronx High School of Science to work at the RAT, an underground newspaper in Manhattan. Finally getting sick of life in the city in such turbulent times, they headed west, like so many young people, to Taos, New Mexico to live on the land. They seem so young, as one reads this book, almost too young to take on the tasks they set for themselves. They are almost like runaways, and the reader may wonder how they'll survive. But 1968 was a different time, and they had the confidence of youth (and at least one of them had a trust fund). The book is exuberant and disjointed, a cacophony of impressions and visions and a few real insights into the life they had chosen. It is their adventure in finding land to build their own home upon. And they express some touching ambivalence about the political storm that swirled around them. The book is full of drawings and photographs in its unusual format, and it feels like the crazy times from which it springs. Back then, Taos was in the middle of nowhere. Now it is still a New Age and hippie Mecca (as well as a ski destination). We once asked: Whatever happened to Paul and Meredith?, to find out that Meredith is Meredith Maran, still an author but no longer in Taos; and that Paul is an artist in Santa Fe.

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