Posted by: Katy | April 28, 2008

How much is too much?

I started this blog to concentrate (for the most part) on projects around my house.  Painting, decorating, preserving the architectural integrity, sharing ideas, my garden, my strange obsession with cooking.  Yet I now find that increasingly I want to talk about things other than home restoration and decor.  Certainly decorating and dreaming about what I’d like to do with my house one day when I have the finances helps distract me from some of the more difficult situations that arise in every day life.  However, there are times when nothing can distract me from the difficulties that I (and so many of my neighbors) face.  I hesitate to post anything negative about my city or my neighborhood.  I try to focus only on the positive.  After all, the reasons I live here in New Orleans are all significant and ever-present—the food, the art, the music, the unique cultural heritage, the history, the architecture, the people, the fact that my family has lived here for nearly three hundred years, the fact that (almost) no one in my family lives anywhere else, etc.  I love my city, and I don’t want to EVER give anyone the idea that I don’t.  I’m also aware that my city thrives on tourists’ dollars, that if the tourists don’t come, the city suffers.  We don’t need any more negative publicity than we already have.  There are so many “reports” and “accounts” posing as highly factual and objective that are in fact just the opposite and portray a city and a situation I don’t even recognize.  I don’t want to add to the negative image of a place I love.  But part of me wants to talk about the struggles of living here, this bittersweet existence where I’ll hear the fabulous sounds of a second line a few blocks away and then later in the night the sound of gunshots.  I want people to know that things are not all great here but also that things are MUCH better than I ever thought they would be.  I also believe that silence breeds more negativity and isolation and creates more setbacks for our city.  I want to be able to access police reports so that I can know what is happening in my neighborhood.  I want to stop walking with a swagger and every once in a while admit that there are times (many times) when I’ve been afraid.  Part of the way I get by is by refusing to admit that I am frightened.  In truth, I’m probably not nearly as scared as I should be most of the time.

How do I write a balanced account of my life in this city?  Some days I feel as though I’m walking around in a dream state, basking naively in the music and sunshine and red wine.  Other times, I feel so shaken by the violence around me, so consumed with resignation and perplexed into thoughtlessness.  I don’t have any answers.  I just want to do right by my city.  And I want people to love it as much as I do. 

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