Macon & Me
Apr. 16, 2017
Spring is here and my birthday is tomorrow. I haven't been working on this as much as I would have liked but was reminded of Macon the other day watching TV. There are many returning shows I'm excited to see, but it was a new program, Brockmire, that made me stand up from my my seat.
Hank Azaria plays a reeling baseball announcer, invited to call games for a down-on-their luck minor league team. The team owner shows him the stadium and sure enough, it's Macon's Luther Williams Field. We drove past the landmark just last month, the arch and entry way wearing their years.
More so than writing, I've been talking about our trip, my six days yielding plenty of stories and scenes. I turn 29 tomorrow, and wish, as I have for the past 10 years, that dad was here to celebrate. He lives though, in stories remembered and gathered and ones yet to be written.
Mar. 15, 2017
I've been back in New York for a week, explaining my time in Macon to more than a few people. I took close to 500 pictures over 6 days. We have stories of our own, from visiting the cemetery to driving with Tommy in the back and BP in the front. But more importantly, I brought back a copy of the 1987 book the family put together - stories through the years, 30 something cousins and relatives contributing a page.
There's a bit in there about the next generation carrying on this tale, and my own grandmother Mary Ann wrote that she was saving some stories for Volume II. My story will not be that Volume II but it may be the closest thing in 30 years. As I met the extended family, remembering everyone and their connection much more this time, I saw how things have branched off. People moved to Atlanta. Daughters got married. A house that held two families, grandparents, cousins, and more, now has two people total.
This house, this place has evolved, or devolved, forever becoming new things to new people, myself included.
MAR. 1, 2017
We leave for Macon tomorrow and as is usually the case with such trips, departure has crept up on us. I am excited but nervous as well, to start unpacking the stories I hope to find.
Two weeks ago I spoke with my dad's high school girlfriend over the phone, and though she did not remember much from her visit to the house in '72, we discussed what she referred to as the distinct southernness of my dad and his Georgian roots, particular in the setting of Cocoa Beach, Fla.
I have helped others in transcribing book interviews, but looking at it going in is a whole different creature. I was thinking the other day of a photo my dad and I took in front of his childhood home, not Spring St. but something nearby. This photo below was taken Sept. 2006 just a few months before he'd pass.
Feb 5, 2017
This passage from Craig Jenkins on the new Sampha album Process:
"Grief is a powerful, mercurial force, a physical dilemma as much as a psychological one. Suddenly, there is negative space where there was once a body, and we fasten feelings onto objects in bereavement. However tiny, they satisfy a craving for the residue of a tangible connection that’s been rubbed out of our lives." — Vulture
I suspect this album will stay with me as I navigate this project, the first lines going out this weekend.
jan 31, 2017
I can remember being in Macon four separate times. When I was 17, 18, 22 and 23. In 2006, my dad and I made the trip from Orlando by car, on our way to Weaverville, North Carolina. Earlier in the year, he received a terminal cancer diagnosis and so we set first to see the house he'd lived in as a toddler, where his aunt and uncle were still. I next visited in 2007, to lay him to rest beside his mother and father.
The above photo, of the house on Spring Street, was taken years later. I moved to Florida, moved back to New York, went back to school, met a girl, started a career, stopping there twice in the past 10 years. The house can feel distant from my life in the city, a part of me that's 900 miles away, yet always still there.
On the 10 year anniversary of my dad's passing, I am heading to Macon once more, with new eyes. And a new camera, too. Through interviews and an extended stay there, I am hoping to find pieces of the house, my dad, myself, that I hadn't seen before. As of this week the trip has been booked and so this page begins.