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Burn Zone series, Scottwood Coax, Paradise CA

Praise for Vista Del Mar, a memoir of the ordinary

a magnificent memoir…graced by a riveting narrative power, and by nuanced, deeply revelatory, and moving insights

Maurya Simon, author of The Wilderness: New and Selected Poems, 1980-2016

…beautiful prose – better than many far more celebrated writers….handles personal subject matter with perfect unsentimentality and tact. What really stood out was a resonant poignancy, “emptiness” in the positive Buddhist sense, in suburban things so often dismissed as tacky…that, and the sense of “soul work” in recovering the things of one’s past.

Alan Williamson, author of Westernness: A Meditation

…joins the company of “self-work,” deep acts of memory….The book stands alongside the work of D J Waldie’s Holy Land, Joan Didion’s Slouching Toward Bethlehem, and the profound My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard.

Jack Shoemaker, Counterpoint Press

Flawless. A perfect recreation of a Southern California post WW II childhood.

Jane Vandenburgh, author of A Pocket History of Sex in the Twentieth Century

Neal writes memoir and photographs,
sometimes together
so that during the writing,
images harmonize with words
as accompaniment, descant, or second line
As John Berger says, “There is never a single approach to something remembered.”

Two Thank Yous

Chicago Quarterly Review Despite current upheavals, it seems vital to keep thanking those who help so much. Two new prose appearances now available, first the beautiful Chicago Quarterly Review running “1969, a numbered account” in its current issue – thanks indeed to editor Elizabeth McKenzie. A good friend called the style of this piece “gonzo,”…

Burn Zone Photos in Catamaran, Spring/Summer 2020

Thanks to Catamaran Literary Review for featuring three of my photos from the Camp Fire in their Spring/Summer issue, available now at https://www.bing.com/search?FORM=INCOH1&pc=IC08&ptag=ICO-c65e44c7d670fc77&q=catamaran%20literary%20reader

A Virginia Memory Book in Three Parts – 1

Some of the best advice I ever received about both photography and writing came from photo master and colleague Dennis Wickes, who told me, “Revisit your old photos from time to time.” I find it definitely helps the artistic quest to go back to earlier work. Of course it takes some compassion so we don’t…

New Writing, New Images

To celebrate some new writing that’s about to emerge, I wanted to present a small portfolio of images from the state of Virginia, that beautiful and mysterious place that was my dad’s home, my birthplace, and throughout my life a strongly mythic locale. In the spring of 2003 I went back to photograph this beautiful…

A Last Look

Here’s our last selection of photos from Patterson/South School, with a few in color. For those interested, the book this website supports, Vista Del Mar, a memoir of the ordinary, written by me and published by Counterpoint Press in 2016, has many more images of south Redondo as well as reflections on growing up in this…

No Longer Seen

  Heading south next weekend to see the old elementary school before it’s demolished. It seems fitting to post a collection of images of places that, like the school will soon be, are razed, “no longer seen” – vanished intimate locales on which were once lavished a million unconscious glances but now, as the deconstructionists…


Exciting to have some color photos to show, as all my formal images up till now have been in black and white. Here are a few from Virginia, a working title on top, and accompanied by a sentence or two from Vista Del Mar that seem to me like suitable travel companions with these photographs.…

Back from Virginia

Had a wonderful time in Virginia – thanks to all who hosted me – you know who you are! Also thanks to the staff of the Virginia Festival of the Book, to our panel host Jon Lohman, and fellow presenters Jon Kay, Theresa Kubasak and Gabe Huck, excellent authors all. As always, the “mother of presidents”…

New Photos of Redondo Beach, with a surprise at the end!

Here are some new photos in the Vista Del Mar spirit of South Bay and Southern California as your correspondent begins to move a bit beyond the current book and environs. This one in Redondo Beach, “After the Reunion,” having retrieved camera and tripod from rental car just moments after a sidewalk conversation with fellow…

C’ville here we come!

Off to the Old Dominion! Thank you Virginia Festival of the Book for such a great roll out! See you there Thursday March 23, noon at the Charlottesville City Council Chambers. Here’s Festival blogger Anna Patra on the program: Neal Snidow‘s Vista Del Mar presents a riveting, expressive memoir that captures the essence of place and time. Here, the banal…