boat train

Thursday, January 06, 2005


Went home to see the grups for the holidays. Spokane isn't really my home, I wasn't born or raised there, I only lived there for three years of high school, and even my parents come from somewhere else. Still, I own it (or it owns me) more than the other places I have lived longer and more volitionally. In the same way I found myself, while overseas, defending American policies that amongst Americans it is my greatest pleasure to excoriate, I find myself getting defensive on behalf of Spokane when other people insult it.

I love the big city, I love the anonymous hurly burly that gives me space to be weird and gay, I love the mess and chaos and diversity, but I want to assert... something, about all those other little red state cities that all of us who breathe free in the city fled from. I can snort derisively over my cabernet with the best of them about flyover country, still, I want to tell about the hard gray mornings waiting for the school bus, about slushy spring trail runs where the air smells like June but feels like February, about cruising on a Saturday night down Riverside because there was absolutely, literally, nothing else to do, about the quiet and stars on the river running 2 blocks from my house. Spokane deserves a bard, poems sung for its lakes and fields, its people, its history -- identical though they be to 10,000 other cities and fields and histories. I don't think it will be me.

My brother once told me, probably in response to some comment from me about the joys of travel and general elsewhereness, that art or thought can only come from a rootedness, from a connection to a specific time and place. I think he was right, but all I can tell is a moving boxes story, a deracinated city girl story, an airports for the holidays story.


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