Posts Tagged ‘suburbs’

It’s another PhotoWednesday! I have three shots lined up today, all of them leaning more towards documentation than art.  Basically, I thought that those of you who have already read Confederate Streets might like to see the very streets of which I write. The first two pictures are of Robert E. Lee Dr. – one is at the corner of Tyne and the other looks up the road from Otter Creek. I literally went through each of those intersections every day of my life in Nashville.  I mean, there may have been a few days per month when I didn’t travel Robert E. Lee for some odd reason, but for the most part, the views in those two shots were so much a part of my life that I barely even saw them. I was glad I could get some pics with the spring blooms on this most recent trip back.

The third picture is of Percy Priest Elementary, which features prominently in the first chapter of my book. Percy Priest is much, much larger than it was when I went there in the 80s, but this section of the school looks essentially the same. (The colors are different though. when I went there, those panels were orange, not beige.) My favorite thing about this shot is the hill jutting straight up behind the school. Nashville may not be in the mountains, but it has some killer hills.

Here’s an interesting fact: At one of my Nashville readings, I learned that the yards in my part of town are big because each house has a septic tank. The city didn’t run sewer pipes out there until the late 1980s.





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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is one of my favorite cities on the planet. (disclaimer: my planet consists of the U.S., Canada, Britain, and Ireland, which are the only countries I’ve been to)  Still, I went to college in Pittsburgh and I like it a whole lot. Last month, the Carnegie Mellon Creative Writing Department flew me up to their fair city to be the Distinguished Alumni Reader in the Adamson Visiting Writers Series.  It was early February and very, very cold – as in about 5 degrees when I landed.  The cold, clear air made for some great window seat photography.

Obviously, I was drawn to shots of the downtown gathering around those three rivers, but then, as the plane flew out to land at the airport, I was struck by the patterns of subdivisions in the snow.  The contrasting landscapes made me think of two things. First, The Geography of Nowhere by James Howard Kunstler – a book I read as a text in a class I took at Carnegie Mellon. Second, my own essay (of course!) Rowing through the Ruins, which is about taking that class – Reading the Built Landscape – and rowing down the Allegheny River every morning. Think about the different experiences one might have in either of these cityscapes, what each one might do to the soul.

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