All posts filed under: Personal History

Plague Diary: August 3, 2020

Personal History / Plague Diaries

Once upon a time, back when there were bars and we still went to them, back when I was still young enough that having intense conversations in bars at midnight+ was sort of my jam, back when the bars were still smoky, back when we were wearing boot cut jeans and The Strokes were a new thing and we were pretty sure that the combination of George W. Bush and 9/11 was the absolute worst […]

Estes, 2002-2004

Houses / Nostalgia / Personal History

(This is part ten of a series. Part nine is here.) We knew the ice storm was coming. Sort of. Cranberries went to work at the coffeeshop that wasn’t really a coffeeshop around the time the rain started to freeze out, around the time the rain froze. Apollo was worried about her driving home, so he asked me to drive her to and after her shift, we went to fetch her over the icy roads […]

The Park, 1996-?

Family History / Houses / Nostalgia / Personal History / Uncategorized

(This is Part 8 of a series, Part 7 is here) You never expect the Deep Suburbs. Not when you’re a young person inclined believe they are dystopias, whose bookshelves are packed with searing indictments of, whose politics are starkly aligned against, whose internal jukebox comes programmed with so many songs decrying, whose family (you believed) were absolutely committed to the revitalization of the urban core and strictly anti- the interests, ideologies and infrastructure that […]

Randolph, 1994-1995

Houses / Nostalgia / Personal History

(This is Part Seven of series. Part Six is here.) Let’s get this out of the way: I hated college. Maybe I was destined to. I’ve spent an adult life (and nearly twenty years, post college living in a college town) trying to work out whether the problem is me or the institution. Probably me. Like most of life’s great disappointments, it wasn’t supposed to be that way. College was supposed to be the best […]

Sherwood, 1991-?

Family History / Houses / Nostalgia / Personal History / Uncategorized

(This is Part Six of a series. Part Five is here.) At some point in the last three decades, my sister and I became fixated on the geography of Dad’s basement. We know where it starts, at least in a material sort of way, but we’re not entirely sure of where it ends “Across the street? A couple of miles away? Canada?” It’s a joke, of course, but one rooted in the peculiar reality of […]

Griffing, 1991-1996

Family History / Houses / Nostalgia / Personal History

(This is Part Five of a series. Part Four is here.) The end of Junior Year, the Countess and I were taking our traditional circuit—shoegaze, cigarettes, a self-guided architectural tour through the fanciest neighborhood in town, which was on the opposite side of town from our own, and through which we could (illicitly) cut on the way to the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Countess had a favorite house, a Gatsbyish ersatz chateau, slightly reminiscent of […]

Fenner, 1991

Family History / Houses / Personal History

(This is the fourth part in a series, the third part is here) I liked the apartment at Fenner. It was light and airy, with wide third-floor windows and views that made Asheville look like an actual, real deal city in the distance. Dad kept birds, two striped finches, in a cage by the kitchen, and continued to feed and water an escaped hamster, Hamlet, out of a couple of antique Spode saucers by the […]

Haywood, 1990-91

Family History / Houses / Nostalgia / Personal History

(This is the third part of a series, part two is here) It was a big deal when the condos were finished. The building was one of the first fully-renovated, maybe the first fully-renovated residential building downtown. In those days, downtown was a millimeter removed from ghost town, and probably still read that way to most people, save my mother, who’d spent the last five years running a non-profit to convince people otherwise. When she’d […]

The Ladies

Family History / Nostalgia / Personal History / Women

The first doll in the doll collection was a baby doll. A hideous oft-bodied thing with a hard-molded plastic head, about  the size and shape of a small sack of Irish potatoes. The doll’s official name was Baby Precious, which struck me as inordinately stupid. “I think Baby Precious is a such a sweet doll,” my mother would say. I thought Baby Precious looked like Marlon Brando stuffed with one of those embedded noisemakers that […]

Women in Rock

Music / Personal History

Summer 2001, late night, at a sidewalk café in my hometown with a table of friends, one of whom was then dating the bass player of one of my favorite bands. The bass player was nice, genuinely so, and funny, and we were all a little drunk, I think, and somehow I got to talking to him about writing. I’d finished a draft of novel, a deeply adolescent relic full of punk rock teenagers in […]