“If you're reading this and are currently in love with a tiny place that hasn't loved you back yet, I want you to know that this is okay. You are not small-minded, unworldly, or masochistic for dismissing the silly myth surrounding the mutual exclusivity of gay life and city life. I want you to also know that, contrary to everything I've said so far, it is possible to inspire change and build community in your own neck of the woods. You're already doing it by holding your ground. The world needs people like you; the world needs Audris. I want you to know that this flighty gay is here for you. I'm not speaking as a saint here, but a Southerner; someone who knows her way around a three-redlight town. I may no longer breathe the same rural air that you do, but my lungs remember it. LGBT solidarity is not locational. It transcends those borders. And if anyone ever tells you to move to a bigger place because it's easier, bless their hearts and tell 'em they're doing allyism wrong. ”—
I wrote Another Thing About The Sticks.
“She was through the door and down the road before she even heard the sound that had been lurking here all along, braided among the laughing corn, woven into the smiling sky, the sound she fled toward with fluttering arms as if what lay before her were only a facsimile, temporary, paper thin, she could bust through into respite from the voice of the landscape itself, the total sound of a permanent shriek.”—Stephen Wright, M31: A Family Romance
Being from the Midwest is kind of cool because it’s really NOT COOL. It’s not like, YEAH I’M FROM BROOKLYN or YEAH I’M FROM CALIFORNIA. It’s like, YEAH MY PARENTS ARE REPUBLICANS AND WE ALL EAT TONS OF RANCH DRESSING AND I WORKED AT THE CONEY ISLAND FOR TWO YEARS. Same with really terrible places like the Bible Belt to an even greater degree. YEAH I ATE GRITS MY WHOLE LIFE AND I STILL DON’T KNOW WHAT “JUXTAPOSITION” MEANS
“We figured out why there are so many people from the Midwest on tumblr. It’s because there’s nothing else to do here but spend hours on the internet.”—~Sarah
Blindsided, Bon Iver
There is something about Bon Iver that makes me want to hole up inside a cabin in the middle of the woods reading books or sit around a bonfire all night with friends telling stories and drinking warm apple cider, looking up at the stars. I never realized how much I appreciated the Midwest and the outdoors until I left (or, really, until about a year after I left). I don’t say this in a wistful way, but in a legitimately regretful way - the last time I tried to go camping, I didn’t make it through the whole night in the woods, and now there’s little I wouldn’t give for an autumn night in a tent, believe it or not.
I’m visiting Illinois and Missouri in November, and I lucked out in that I’ll be making my way there just as I’m missing the leaves that crunch under your feet and that crisp, cool smell of fall.