In the June 26th Houston Chronicle there was a great article by Claudia Feldman on offbeat places to visit in the Houston area. (The article can be read by online subscribers)
As much as I liked the piece there was one detail, about a particular location, that was missing. I knew it was missing because I had visited the place in February.
So, I wrote an essay and submitted it to the Outlook letters section (accepts letters of up to 600 words) and sent it in.
When I opened up the Saturday paper I saw something that made my day. My essay had been published!
My very first published piece of work in Houston, my new home city! I feel like I have been officially welcomed to H-Town.
It began this way:
As a writer, walker and bicyclist, looking to explore every nook and cranny of my new home city I enjoyed the article in the June 26th Houston Chronicle, on offbeat places to visit, by Claudia Feldman.
However, there was a bit of important information missing from her mention of Eclectic Menagerie Park. It is understandable, however; even I almost missed it when I visited the place a few months back.
What's the point of having a plot of land filled with creative statues and the only way anyone would know they shouldn't step onto the unfenced property is if they just so happen to walk past one single, solitary, tiny white, no trespassing, sign on a pole? Just because there is no real parking (right-of-way issues it seems) and no sign with the name of the park, or who owns it, if private, is no reason to expect anyone to automatically deduce that this is no ordinary park.
The whole essay, for those who can't read the image above, is here. I hope you read it and let me know what you think.
The first published response to the piece is priceless!
The esteemed Mr. Becker obviously meant his comment to be an insulting putdown of the paper and even me, but I prefer to see it as a compliment; especially considering whom the man is and what he's known for here in Houston.
His Chronicle online bio says:
Bio - Ordained minister.
Drug Truth Network Producer, on KPFT (Houston's Pacifica Radio station) Houston, 90.1 FM. Producing 10 radio shows per week for 90+ broadcast affiliates in US & Canada.
Cultural Baggage airs Sundays at 6:30 PM. Century of Lies (also name of his book) airs Sunday at 7 PM, & 4:20 Drug War News Mon-Fri @ 9:57 AM.
Former police officer, current member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
Interests - drug law, corrupt cops, prohibition
My Pastimes Working to end the drug war
Ordained minister? In an interview he gave, in 2009, to Christians Against Prohibition, he answers that question this way:
I follow the teachings of Christ, but I do not belong to any church, believing that where two or more are gathered in his name. I have been ordained for 3 years now and preach whenever I am invited. Thus far I have preached at 5 or 6 churches in the Houston/Galveston area.
He also writes on the Huffington Post, and been praised by the Houston Press and Houston Free Press, going back a decade, for his fight to legalize Pot.
In 2004 the Houston Press also said this about him:
"He's not the smoothest talker in the world, which might hinder interviews, and he can be a bit hazy at times, but his persona makes for great radio."
"With the world going to hell in a handbasket, this is what the Chron prints?"
Now, I ask you, how can I NOT be honored to be dissed by such a man?
I could not have asked for a better debut in Houston than seeing my essay in print and getting such an initial response. :-D
This morning I discovered a 2nd comment, which was more welcoming:
Welcome to Houston...glad you weren't hijacked ( mugged) while frolicking in the park...
My original blog post about my visit to the park is here.