It was not that long ago that they were looking to widen Hillsboro Pike where it crosses Old Hickory Boulevard, down there by the big church. And you may recall that they found an ancient grave site there, and the bodies of three babies.
These babies were so old they had no people left, not just in the area, but at all. Words like Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Muskogee are too new to mean anything to those babies. And yet, it is those folks who came to watch out for the babies, to fight against them being moved and to fight against their graves being desecrated.
There were lawsuits and protests and flags and ribbons tied to trees and poles as if to say, “These babies mattered; they still matter.”
There are two houses of worship there. And I will not tell you which one did right and which did wrong. I will just say that one of them could have given up some parking space so that the road could go through and leave the babies undisturbed, but they did not. And the other of them offered parking to the protesters and cookies and lemonade.
The babies are under the road now.
And I hear that, at night, you can hear the laughter of small children and talk in a language no one knows anymore. And I hear that folks at one house of worship, when they hear it, rush to their cars, and cling tightly to their keys, to keep their shaking hands from dropping them. And at the other house of worship, when they hear the same noise, the folks nod to each other sadly, and sometimes one of them will walk towards the intersection, singing soft lullabies, to help the dead sleep.
God, I wish I had set it up for them to launch at 8 p.m. instead of 9! Every night I’m dying in anticipation to see what y’all think. And I’m having my mind blown to see the responses. I’m going to have to give it some thought, but it’s definitely weird to have such immediate feedback about what’s working and what’s not, even if it’s just that people are really enjoying them. Seeing how people so genuinely engage with what are stately fictional pieces is a new experience for me.
Years of learning how to read fiction with the right “critical” eye, there’s something really nice about getting feedback that is as genuine as “I really liked this.” Ha, yeah, I guess it would be different if you guys were all “Oh, god, this sucks.”
And it’s cool to see what things strike people.
My mind is still a little blown over the whole interactive map thing. But it does make me wonder if the Kindle and the Sony Reader aren’t just stop-gap measures. When I was in undergrad, a million years ago, almost no one had a computer in his or her room. And I only knew one person with the internet in his room. We all got email addresses my junior year (I think) and you could go to one library on campus to actually surf the internet, but only for five minutes at a time. You wouldn’t bother to check your email more than once a week because it was such a pain in the ass to do.
And even then, the College Professor was teaching courses on hypertext literature. We were literally learning to link before we even knew what the internet was and learning to think about how writing would be shaped by living in an electronic format. And here I sit, thirteen years later, still fucking around with the ideas we toyed with in those classes. Sometimes I feel like I have always been a writer best suited for this medium and lucky to have been born right when it came into existence.
But I also am really excited to see what kids who were raised in this environment come up with, kids to whom the concept of a link is second-nature, to whom the constraints of a book will feel stodgy and limiting. (And I’m excited to see what happens in 30 years when they return to the book, too).
I amuse myself, sometimes, folks. Anyway, over at Pith, I looked into why John Rich is asking for a zoning change on his Whites Creek property and I come out in favor of it. I may be getting soft.
On Saturday, we were on our way to get ice cream when I asked, “Should we take Mrs. Wigglebottom?” and the Professor said, “No, she’s been eating a lot of grass all afternoon and I don’t want her throwing up in my car.”
Cut to Sunday, when I put the dog in the car to go to the park. It must have been a stealth puke, because I didn’t hear it, but when I went to put her back in the car, there was a softball sized pile of half-digested grass on the back seat. I cleaned it up and thought no more about it.
Later that day, shortly after the picture below, just as the Butcher was saying to Mrs. Wigglebottom, “Why are you acting so weird?” she projectile vomited all over him. I wish Tiny Cat Pants had sound effects. It was like Blergh-ghglehgl-urp.
Then she spent the rest of the day sleeping, with one ear awkwardly pointed straight up in the air.
Poor Mrs. W. We’re keeping a close eye on her today, that’s for sure.
Well, and by “we,” I mean the Butcher, because I’ll be at work.
Did Kroger steal this from Publix or does the Publix crew run around tagging everything as they try to establish their territory in that part of town?
Remind me to ask the Butcher to weigh in when he’s awake.
(photo is obviously Chris Wage’s.)