Nick’s post is less of an essay than it is a poignant, unfinished reflection on those moments frozen in the past that resonate as significant years later. In the Essays on Childhood project, we strive to encourage the writing process in various stages. Nick is an accomplished writer, but he also knows the value of allowing the smaller visions and insights to gain a life of their own in a few paragraphs. I’ve been reading his blog long enough now to know that it’s these times when he allows himself to make concrete even the vaguest memories that lead to real breakthroughs later.
Every writer could take a tip from Nick in this department.
You may read his entire post here, The Geography of Identity; Where Blue Bonnets Paint the Hills « Atoms of Thought.
“Everything outside of the picture still exists. The four lane highway carries more cars today than when I was a boy, but it looks exactly as it did almost three decades ago. The mall has changed very little on the outside. A few apartments have risen on nearby hills with glorious views of downtown Austin and the thunderstorms that roll in from the east every Spring. Everything in the picture, however, has disappeared. The hill remains, of course, but Lady Byrd Johnson and her army of Blue Bonnet enthusiasts stopped seeding that hill soon after my sister and I posed on it for my parents. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that, in the interest of public safety, the city itself forbade parking on the shoulder of the highway to take pictures.”