Today’s newsletter was inspired by this comic I found in an old diary and ended up being about this:
We come to books and to life with expectations. Visions in our heads about how we think things are going to go. Trouble — and possibility — happens when the vision and the reality don’t match up.
Something I left out of this piece because I thought it would make it unwieldy: How people carry an image of their city in their mind and as the city changes, it can cause them grief. (I subscribe to the idea that we can deal with change, it’s loss that messes us up.)
I liked the way Jason Stanford wrote about how living in the past blinds many Austinites to the Goodness and Weirdness right in front of them. (He was responding to Lawrence Wright’s New Yorker piece about “The Astonishing Transformation of Austin.”)
We can be blinded by the images in our heads, but we can also be blinded by the images that other people project at us.
Granted, like Lawrence Wright, I live a life of privilege in an extremely pleasant neighborhood, and they’re tearing houses down in every direction, and lord knows I feel like Rip Van Winkle every time I go downtown. But I consistently hear about how supposedly terrible the city has become, and then I go out for a bike ride or a walk, and I wonder where is this terrible place everyone is talking about? This place is pretty good.
Related reading: “It Ain’t Grand”