Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Diving In

As I began to assemble and write essays that I hope will comprise a book called,  Swimming in the Red Sea.  The book which came out of the blog but will enable me to have a wider audience was a way to express my feelings and observations about what it was like to relocate from a very "blue" state to a very "red" one and enable those reflections to be both therapeutic on one level and informative to others on another.  Curiosity killed the Cat and I have 8 lives left that said I was not curious just needed to be "woke" and wow I am awake.   But I have learned many things here and as the Teacher I am I want to share that what I have learned.  As when asked about if I "like" Nashville, I simply say, "It's interesting."  And I hope the book will be as well.

I have begun to edit and revise the introduction called, When the Bough Breaks, about what it is like to finally feel utterly broken living here and oddly it has little to do with Politics but in fact people.  I don't like them.  I am utterly bereft and perplexed as the amount of newcomers moving here range from supposedly 85-100 day, but that too like all things I have found here are lies.  This is the land of storytellers and I plan on adding mine to the list.  But the truth hurts and the pain I feel is quite palpable, dental surgery aside.

I have never read East Nashville magazine and have no reason to.  I can get on a bus and yes even walk to East Nashville it is that easy.  I would not recommend it during our current heat wave but there are a couple of fairly easy walks that gets you across the Cumberland and over to the starting point of what defines East Nashville along Shelby.

As all things in Nashville, Shelby is defined by the massive public housing complex that on a daily basis is covered on the news with regards to violence and crime.  The neighborhood abuts a largely gentrifying area and the attempt to turn that "project" into an affordable housing complex is ongoing but it is a reminder and great starting point to explain how Nashville was developed and designed to maintain the status quo and retain a semblance of segregation with the idea of being less discriminatory.

 I live near another housing development Edgehill which also abuts a massive gentrification project, the Gulch, and in turn the violence and crime will be edged out over time.  So good choice of a name there.   The other division is North Nashville and its proximity to the another massive gentrification project, Germantown, and its access to the Farmers Market, Downtown and East Nashville makes it another prospect to be mined.  Black families are leaving in droves to Antioch, they are being encouraged to move further north of the Cumberland to Bordeaux and of course out of the area to Madison.  Push and push back explains of course the crime stats here.

There is much to say about how Nashville defines people, no judges them, by where they live.  After asking you what Church you belong to the other is "Where do you live?"  And trust me people have no fucking clue as it was largely a warehouse area abutting another marker, the projects on Layfayette, so when I explain in pained detail they go as all Nashville natives do, "Well that used to be a horrible area and really dangerous."  Thanks for the history lesson as in the City of Now the living in the present is always marked by the past.  But it is also adjacent to the most truly diverse neighborhood in the City and while it may take time the reality is that once the Fairgrounds closes or is gentrified we will see the Nolensville change into the new East Nashville or the new Williamsburg as that is always the bizarre reference for when a gritty part of town changes into less of one.

And yes I was told repeatedly that the place to live was East Nashville and that was first told to me by a white man who relocated here a year prior from Seattle.  What.ever. That to me was the kiss of death right there. And there is about a perimeter of East Nashville I go and frequent but it is not all that and a bag of chips.  But then again I actually go all over Nashville and outside of it.  Few do. The idea of exploration and investigation not something people do here, regardless of if they were born here or migrated here. And most Nashvillians hate to travel, I have never met more closed minded fucktards. Oh wait I lived in Texas they think that too, that everything you could ever want or need is there so why go anywhere else.  It also is a money thing you can't travel on shitty wages.    I call it sad.  I also call it grim.  I call it pathetic.  So lets just cut this to Sad.Grim.Pathetic.  Good hashtag! 

But when actually picked up East Nashville Magazine at the Library, I was really looking for my favorite mag, Garden and Guns (yes it is called that and it is the Martha Stewart for Living crowd with guns), and instead read this.   Well this is all I read as it was all I needed to in order to once again validate and confirm my feelings about this absurdity here.

My sell by date was always a four year thing.  I am at year one, three to go.  And thank Jesus for that one as if I want to turn into this.   My comments are **by some of the idiocy that makes me realize yes 25% of the people here are illiterate, 33% have degrees and well the rest is history. They love history here.  They love it a lot. Like segregation and racism. History.

From the Publisher

It’s a five-year town thing

Greetings. I’m Lisa McCauley, and the magazine you’re reading is my brainchild. Although I’ve been publishing The East Nashvillian for seven years, this is only the second time I’ve expressed my thoughts within the pages of the magazine. So as you might imagine, I have a few things to get off my chest.

     First, a little background: I’ve lived in Nashville my entire life, and since 2001, I’ve lived in East Nashville, where four generations of my family have called home. I grew up just a few miles north of here during a time when East Nashville was the area you avoided at all costs. **White flight, they probably moved Goodletsville which I have learned was the better area for those who could not Belle Meade it.    When we visited a relative or had a doctor’s appointment in the ’hood (Miller Medical Clinic), my mom would always lock the doors around the time we hit Gallatin Pike and Ellington Parkway. The East Nashville you know now was far from being the East Nashville we knew then.

     It wasn’t until 1999 that I really started spending time in East Nashville. One of my best friends who I knew from working in the radio biz bought a house on Skyview Drive, and I started spending most weekends at his place. ** Well thank you for sharing your sex life.  How did that work out?  

 Around the same time, Mike Grimes and Dave Gherke opened Slow Bar at 5 Points in the location now occupied by 3 Crow Bar. At that point, I’d lived in just about every area of Nashville, **I doubt it but lying while talking is a trademark here.    but still hadn’t found the sense of community that I longed for — a creative scene in an up-and-coming area that was diverse and still a little on the edgy side. East Nashville was all of this and much more. I was living in the country in Williamson County **the richest and whitest county that is everyone's aspiration here at the time, but soon started spending as much time as possible in my newly discovered ’hood.

     In 2001, I bought my current house, and because my background was in advertising, I had the desire to start a newspaper, magazine, or some kind of media outlet dedicated to my new community. I started sharing my ideas, but I soon found that businesses that could or would spend money on advertising were few and far between. That dream ended up on the back burner.

     Fast forward to 2009. I was working for a large publishing company, and my work required me to regularly travel out of town. **How terrifying to have to talk to people that are not your people! It definitely wasn’t my cup of tea, so toward the end of the year, I left that position without a new gig in hand. I did freelance media sales for a month or two, but one day it hit me: It was now the time to bring my idea to the front burner. My partner thought I was crazy, but he supported the idea, provided I had enough advertising dollars to go to print for the first issue.

     I soon connected with Historic East Nashville Merchants Association and found that sense of community again with the local business folks. Some pretty amazing business owners welcomed me with open arms and, after a few months, we were able to publish our very first edition in August 2010. We barely had enough advertising revenue to cover our costs.

     Our first few years in business were amazing, and the love and support we received overwhelmed us. The magazine gave East Nashville a voice, and the business community embraced that.

     Now here we are seven years later and there have been a lot of changes since 2010 — some have been good, some not so much. I’m still so very impressed and in love with the EN music scene. It’s just as welcoming and loving as it ever was, and this truly touches my heart. The newcomers and the ones that came before them all support one another — void of jealousy or competition — and that’s not something you see in other music towns like New York, Los Angeles, or Austin.  *And you have lived in all of these cities to know this and compare.  Funny I have don't know that part of it.

     To the many businesses that have supported us over the years, I can’t begin to thank you enough. Without you we would have never made it this far. I will always be grateful for you. You got it, and I don’t just mean you got the magazine; you understood that here in East Nashville, we have something special that makes us the envy of the entire city, and that is our sense of community.  **It was cheap housing and that some hipster joints that opened there.  We are in a Nations craze right now so again really?

     This is who we are, and this is who we need to continue to be. If you’re new to the area, take the time to “get it” — listen and learn about this special place, our mindset, and get to know the trailblazers who helped carve out our unique East Side culture  **Huh? And that is what exactly?

     Tim Carroll sings that Nashville is a “five-year town.” I don’t think he’s singing solely about those who move to Nashville seeking a career in music. It takes time to acclimate.

     Here’s my point in case you’re still wondering: Be mindful of the ones who came before you. They paved the way for you. The East Nashville you moved to would not exist if not for their efforts. To be part of this community, you have to learn about it, respect it, and appreciate it. Otherwise, you will destroy the very culture that brought you here.  ** This is the talk at you and scold you right away so it saves time and energy.  And to let you know you are outsider, and you're welcome.  That is the definitive of Southern Hospitality.

     That said, welcome to the neighborhood. And if I haven’t already, I look forwarding to meeting each and everyone of you.  *Passing on that lovely invite. Thanks

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