In mid Sept. 2012 a mysterious man and his extraordinary cats, left their former lives behind to start fresh among people of a culture unfamiliar to them, in a state bigger than life, home to legends of american history, looking to impart their wisdom to all they meet, while discovering what their new surroundings could teach them as well.
What is Houston all about? What is at the heart of the love so many have for the rich historical, cultural and creative tapestry of this sprawling metropolis and its suburbs?
Is there something called “pure” Houston, or is it something else entirely?
He has not lived here long enough to say yet, but, the Mad Houstonian is here, among you, living with his 2 feline companions in an abode, somewhere out there, in your midst.....
He has begun to slowly explore his surroundings from more than just the inside of a passing bus, learning to like what he sees, enjoying the interesting, warm, sometimes noisy and wet, weather, engaging in conversations with the natives, trying the food, all while he looks for work, gets medical treatment for serious eye conditions, and finds new ways to expand his writing career……
Good afternoon, Houston; between trips to the 3rd floor laundry room, doing what a single guy has to do, I thought I’d toss my ½ cent in on 4 essays I’ve read in the Houston Chronicle and one of its blogs, since early February.
This is the first one.
Columnist Lisa Gray isn’t sure if there is such a thing as a “pure” Houston; In early February she described her city as a “mixed-up, mashed-up, agglomeration, that is a bit of everything – prairie, swamp and forest; hip-hop and opera, pho tai and jalapeño; high-rises next to houses; Hindu temples next to apartment complexes”, a multi-cultural stew of old and new, historic and hysterical.
It all serves to attract newcomers from all across the country, even the world (look at me, I abandoned a life totally lived in southern California to begin fresh in the state of Texas and chose this city as my landing zone.).
The multi-cultural community that this city has become is old hat to me, having lived my life in L.A. and Orange Counties, yet it is all fresh and new to me as well in its “Texaness”.
She writes that “we like new people, new words, new ideas”, as “our identity is still solidifying, and, optimists that we are, we hope that the next new thing, whatever it is, might change everything”.
She says they love change and change is one definition of what is “pure” Houston.
Well, OK, I’m new people; I’ve got some new words, and new ideas, even ideas that served me well, as a writer, in southern California, that I want to try here. Will what I do be the next “new thing” and “change everything”? Good question. I just want to make a new life for myself, stir up people’s brain cells a bit, entertain, inform and become involved with the people, and in, the life, of this fascinating city.
I want to add my unique flavor to the gumbo that she believes will simmer, “mix and blend, becoming its own unified thing, less mess and more mestizo”.
She writes that the love of a good meal that has made the city home to a rich and varied dining experience, along with the music, architectural and literary scenes will eventually catch up to each other and add their distinctive flavors and smells to the pot, though she IS annoyed with the architect’s current, less than Houston-like, ideas.
She believes in having patience; “The city will get there someday” she writes, “and getting there is the exciting part”, so we might as well “enjoy the mess.”
Here I sit, unemployed, 11 days from eye cancer surgery, yet I’m looking forward to contributing to the creative, literary, cat-loving, and recreational and commuting cycling scenes through my exploration of and writing about this city and the rest of Harris County that I can reach by bus, bike and my own 2 feet.
I am a writer. I am a cat lover. I am the Cycling Dude. I am the Mad Macedonian. I am the Mad Houstonian.
Your world, Houston, is now my world as well. I look forward to meeting you.
Oh and one more thing; I, like many others, expect to stay long enough to care about this place.
If you are a digital subscriber to the Houston Chronicle you can read the full essay by Lisa Gray, as long as it’s available, here: