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Carrie Furnaces (Rankin, PA) | to whom it may concern

Carrie Furnaces (Rankin, PA) | to whom it may concern - Carrie Furnaces
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To whom it may concern:

I thought by now I'd be doing something more useful with my life. I'm no stranger to hard work, and god knows I want to feel a deserved sense of accomplishment, just like anyone else. I have put in a lot of hours trying to add at least a little to the world around me, and I had hoped that it might make some sort of difference. Maybe I thought I'd be on to something Great and Important by this stage of the game, but I still find myself struggling to get by every day, struggling to pay my bills and even just to drag myself out of bed to face the world sometimes. Isn't it supposed to get easier somewhere along the line? Aren't you supposed to be rewarded for your labor and your diligence, at least not with a medal, maybe with some sort of personal satisfaction? Isn't there some point that you can look at yourself in the mirror and say, 'I have a place in this world around me. I belong here'? I just don't get it. I really don't. Every time I think I'm doing ok something comes along that completely turns everything around and makes me think that I don't really know much of anything after all. Every time I think that maybe I am making at least a slight improvement in the lives of others, I get painfully reminded of how foolish and self-centered and ineffectual I ultimately am. I'm really not asking a lot. I gave up a long time ago on being rich and/or famous, and I don't really need accolades. I don't mean to sound demanding or ungrateful I am very happy to have a roof over my head, to not have to fight for food, for heat and electricity and the other things we all take for granted. I just wish that I knew what was going on, or at least where I fit in to things. I wish I felt like I was making some sort of progress, that I was further along then I was ten years ago, or twenty. I wish I felt like... I wish I knew what to wish I feel like. I wish I felt at peace, or even knew what it was like to feel that way.

I hope you can look into this, and maybe find some sort of solution to the problem. I think you will see that I can be fairly agreeable when I am allowed a measure of dignity and purpose. It's not that I don't want to put in the effort, I just don't know where to put it any more. It seems like things are going to go the way they're going to go regardless of my existence, and I guess that's the part that bothers me. If you tell me what I am doing wrong, I will happily do my best to fix it.

Whoever you are, whoever it is that makes decisions about these sorts of things, please stop ignoring my requests. Please just take a moment of your time to let me know what you want from me. I promise, I will listen.

I promise.

Carrie Furnaces, Rankin PA. 2009

If you'd like to learn more about this location, it is a featured chapter in the new Abandoned America book Abandoned America: The Age of Consequences. Signed copies are available through my website, or you can find (unsigned) copies available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other online booksellers across the globe.

I also teach photography workshops here periodically; to check availability follow this link.

Photograph and unattributed text by Matthew Christopher of Abandoned America.

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