Texas Gothic Part Two: The Small Town Blues
Long ago, the editor of the local paper of my small town declared small town living to be the best place to grow up. I didn’t believe her at the time. I don’t quite believe her now.
I get what she was trying to say. Small towns provide a stronger sense of community than large cities. Small towns are, by and large, inherently safe.
But from my perspective, I never truly felt that sense of community. I was the outsider condemned, as much by choice as anything else, to never really belong. I experienced the small town I lived in as a pit of loneliness. There were bright spots, but never enough to scare away the darkness.
Small town living, before the internet changed everything, can only be described as boring. Especially when one’s interests do not acclimate well to those of one’s neighbors.
I did not truly find a sense of happiness until I moved to Austin for college. I just felt at home there. That was, and remains, a place I belong. The same is true of San Francisco and the too brief weekend I spent in Portland, Oregon. I yearn to return to those places, permanently.
It is, I think, my conflicted feelings for the town I grew up in that inspires me to spend so much of my time interrogating the concept of small towns. It could also be the fact that I adore Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple stories.
Whatever the true reason, maybe my Texas Gothic will exorcise the memories of the places I grew up, or out of.