Never Say Never

The title of this post is a bit of a contradiction, not to mention a bit cliche, but, as far as sound advice goes, it has its salient points.

Back in late 81 – or was it early 82? Winter in any event – I packed up the last of the luggage, tossed the cats in the back seat of the Volkswagen and headed southwest, out of Detroit to parts unknown, the vow to never return trailing behind like the sleet and slush and ice bound streets I was escaping from.

Never say never.

It’s nearly thirty years later. The last six have not, overall, been pretty. A few highlights here and there; my novel Stealing The Marbles has been published, my second, Meter Maids Eat Their Young, will be out before Father Time sweeps his scythe across 2011 but, in general, it’s been a downhill tumble from California to New Mexico to this bug infested junk yard in the armpit of Florida.

Never say never.

For reasons I have yet to comprehend, Detroit has been calling me of late. Funny, that. Detroit is the boogeyman used to frighten adults. Mention the city and watch folks recoil in fear. The Motor City turned The Murder City. White-flight, abandoned, stripped and burnt out houses, a city in decline. And it’s calling me home.

And I’m not sure why.

Writers, I think, are superstitious. I am, about certain things. And skeptical as well, especially about superstitions. Signs and portents and cities calling to us are sought after yet questioned when they seem to appear. Last week, a friend sent me an ad for a rental in South Warren I could afford, at a place called Shadylane Estates. Don’t let the name fool you. It’s a bloody trailer park. What she couldn’t possibly have known is the significance of that ad, of her sending it to me at this time.

Life is like a story in that it has a beginning, a middle and an end. It starts at birth, ends at death and pretty much everything in between is the middle. Stories are rarely that linear. What would be the point of backstory if they were?

If I were to write my ‘story’, something I would never do in full, it would not start at birth. It would start in a place called Shadylane Estates for reasons I have no intention of explaining. It just would. Because that is where it did start.

Signs and portents. The superstitious me has had a field day with that rental ad.

Thomas Wolfe said you can’t go home again. He was probably right. Still, nearly everything that is not in storage in Albuquerque is now packed and ready to roll. I have no idea where I will land but soon, very soon, it and I and all my critters will take flight, into the cool and the dark, heading toward the unknown once again, only this time it won’t be to parts unknown. It will be to home unknown.

Could make for an interesting story one day.

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