Southeast Texas is an area to get lost in historically. The Gulf Coast is a thick place – humid air heavy with heat, with moisture, with history. Quoting passages from historical books, the historical record, the official history, I could get lost for ages in the websites, the yellowed pages of the archive, the repertoire of stories, anecdotes and footnotes to a history most often ignored in the everyday life of this low-lying, easily flooded metropolis.

We are not a place that remembers its history. Instead, a site of reinvention, a place of perpetual recreation and dis-remembering.

My own history is testament to this. But how to talk about personal history in a way that doesn’t devolve into mere nostalgia, into a yearning for a recovering of the past, into a search for truth and for what-really-happened-there.

When I first came back in 2001 to Houston, I wanted to make a movie, to make documentaries. One about other young people who had roots in these parts that went back seven generations. I interviewed friends that met these qualifications. I interviewed my grandmother, my great-aunt. I culled for stories everywhere I could find them. I did find stories, lots of them, but they have become unmanageable, unorganizable and I find that they stay in my brain much easier then they emerge onto paper.

I guess this is part of the reason why I suddenly (very suddenly) think a blog would be a good idea. Because it forces me to put on paper (or on computer) what otherwise would stay in my head and not find a way to escape. I also have tried to publish on these topics, I’ve done some articles in different magazines, sent a lot of query letters and such, but in the end, not much has come of it. I put my email at the end of my articles, my essays, my short stories, and I have yet to really hear from anyone else out there who is thinking about Houston, about history in Southeast Texas, but even more than that, the story of all of us, of our hearts, of this place, this dirt, this ground, this concrete, these buildings, these places that we bury and destroy without much thought.

In 2001, when I first came back to H-Town, there still was a movie theatre at the corner of Wheeler and Main Street. One night, I stopped took out my video camera and filmed the exterior of the place from different angles, it was nighttime and I had noticed caution tape had gone up around the building as if to prepare it for its eventual demise. These images I put into my camera were reminders to me of what had been there of what we could have done with that space. After the old theatre was destroyed, all that was left was a concrete slab foundation in one corner of an entire city block leveled. There is a little grass sliver where the City of Houston has erected a sign that denotes that this small stretch of grass is actually a park. The park will be maintained and the grass fed as a new city, new buildings grow up around it.

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