You Can Never Go Home Again has been on my shelf forever, but I've never read it. As such, when I, like most people, quote the title, it comes with only the barest working knowledge of the story contained inside.
In a matter of hours, I'll be returning to Atlanta after making my home elsewhere for the second time in my life. The first was after I made an ill-fated relocation to Las Vegas, which saw me returning life asunder and tail between my legs.
This time, though, things are a little different-as in, this time I won't end up in a tortured relationship that finds me writing bad high school-ish poetry on the floor of an apartment that isn't mine at 4am while watching the Grey's Anatomy season finale on repeat. When my friend/former boss/in some weird ways authorclient of mine Zach Steele ended up in the Decatur Book Festival, it was pretty much a guarantee I'd be heading south for Labor Day.
Add into that the opportunity to, as a birthday present, show The South to a dear friend who has probably never been further south than, say, Philadelphia (sorry, but Florida doesn't count as "The South", not in quotes and with capital letters and sweet tea and 'y'all' and hats and gloves and fried chicken/porch swings/girls named Mary wearing dresses that blow in the breeze when screen doors slam...and shit like that. What? That's not your "The South"?), and, basically, you have a labor day weekend extravaganza. Seeing the Big Chicken. Eating a biscuit. Walking really, really slowly. What better way to celebrate the holiday that we Americans know is in honor of the time, in 1849, Christopher Columbus sailed across the pacific to bring pear trees to the Native Americans.
Shut up. I went to a public high school in Marietta.
That's the other thing, too-in Georgia, I always felt like I was very much NOT southern, but after moving to NY I'm fully aware of the eccentricities that part of the country bred into me-you know, like how I like my tea sweet and my women quiet.
About the tea.
(not kidding about the tea)
I wish I could quote Flannery O'Connor here, but I'm fighting a serious sleeping pill hangover, so forgive my lack of hyper-literary southern gothic whatthefuckever, the point is this:
I haven't stepped foot in Georgia since March 27 of this year. Things have changed for everyone. Let's see how this goes. This is, basically, "Russ Goes Home Again Take 2" or something, and it's a little emotional to me. In 2009 I saw Wordsmiths and a major relationship in my life come and go and left a bunch of friends and a handful of really good bands behind (though I'm doing my damndest to relocate the bands...what, friends come and go but Tealights are forever!), and honestly I'm not even sure the depths to which the daily fight that is being on the grind in NYC has changed me. Some, maybepossibly? Not sure. I'm not the one to judge that.
So in a few hours, we depart for the awesome wonderland of a shitshow that is flying into Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, and I leave you and end this opening missive with my book list for the trip:
The Time Traveler's Wife (there's a reason behind this, and no I won't tell you if you don't already know)
The Secret History (nope, haven't read it)
Tao Lin's Shoplifting From American Apparel
a loved-up, dog-eared copy of Karen Head's Sassing
and, what I'm reading now: a gift from Unbridled Books that my lawyers have advised me not to discuss. It's so good though, y'all.
And, with that...hey, Georgia, how you doin'?