Intersections – Last Stop MayberryNicki Salcedo
By Nicki Salcedo, contributor
I’ve spent the past few years looking for goodness. I believe that people are good. Good things happen to me all the time. I meet people who aren’t like me in any way, and we can become friends. I believe in the importance of intersections. These are the places where you have a connection, but you don’t have to change your path. I don’t want to be defined by the end point of my journey, but by the places I’ve stopped along the way.
I’ve tried not to let grief and disappointment alter me. When my father died, I didn’t think I could grieve more. The pain of losing him was unexpected. So was my anger. I struggled for years. Just at the moment when things might be getting better the world changed on me again. Much to my surprise Grief said, “Hold my beer!” That’s the way my life has been going these days.
I have to be very sad to stop writing. I write through grief and anger and joy and surprises. But I wanted to quit writing at the end of last year. I thought I was the only one looking for goodness. I thought I was the only one finding it. It was rare, but still there.
I wished I had any other passion. Quilting seems nice. Running could be fun. Writing is a terrible thing. Not only do I expose myself, sometimes I expose you. It isn’t always pretty.
I told my husband that I didn’t want to write anymore.
“I hate writing,” I said.
“You saying you hate writing is like me saying I hate sex,” he said.
No way to respond to that.
Even though I love writing, I have exposed my failings and mourning. I’ve written about my mistakes and strange points of view. And the world kept responding with, “Hold my beer!”
I know how to say, “Honey, can you bring me a beer?” in Korean. That’s the only thing I can say in Korean. I can’t say “hello” in Korean. I can’t ask for the bathroom in Korean. What kind of American am I? I want to be able to say “Hold my beer” in every language. I want to be a great American. Maybe not the best. The best is subjective. It depends on who is counting.
I’d rather go to my grave forgotten than go to my grave remembered as a fool. When you see me acting like a fool, point to the cemetery.
I took a break from writing for Decaturish at the end of last year. Two volumes of my columns are now in print and ebook. The first book is “Intersections” and the second is called “Echoes of the Same: Intersections in an American City.” All my columns are in the books, plus a few extra ones.
Decatur is a pretty cool city, but I wanted to do something new and different when I came back. I’m back again, but down the street at the Atlanta Loop. “Intersections” will continue to be on hiatus for a while longer. My new column is called Zero Mile. These are the utterly fictional tales of life in Atlanta based on reality. I hope you will join me there.
There will be characters you recognize. Ones you might like and ones you hate. It will be a place to stop by on Wednesday when the rest of the world has disappointed you and you want to read something different. Short fiction. I’ve asked Dan Whisenhunt to take a risk on this. If you don’t like it, I can go back to writing about the port-a-potty next to the soccer field. I promise you that you don’t want to read about that.
Do you trust me? You shouldn’t. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll learn about yourself. I hope. You’ll learn something about Atlanta. First stop? The airport. That’s where all good adventures start in this town.