Categories: Agenda 21, Animals, Books, Charlotte, Food, Writing. Zazzle? No...there's not time for Zazzle again today. I spent too much time actually writing, e-mailing, and checking out a writing site where I hope to make more money. Botheration.
Many, if not most, of this web site's correspondents will recognize Ysabetwordsmith's vision...as something we don't want to see...mandated. "Mandated" is the key word. Jim Babka's and Perry Willis's "voluntaryism" is another key concept here.
I personally like the look of my home town--no planning, no zoning, not much of a "downtown" at all, but a splendid historic mix of big and small houses, old and newer, fancier and shabbier as the original builders chose, and yes there are quite a few trailer houses, on either side of a short narrow strip of businesses. (Yes, some of the owners always planned to have livable apartments above some of the businesses--an old idea that's recently come back into fashion.) Because it's small and sparsely populated, the whole town looks green, with big yards and a view of the tree-covered mountains from everywhere. And people who are disabled, or poor-spirited, or who feel a need to show off that they have a car, really do still drive around one single corner--but those of us who aren't afraid to stretch our legs can walk from one end of Gate City to the other in an hour, so the whole town is actually "walkable." Best of all, the majority of people who work, trade, and/or get mail in Gate City don't even live "in town." I live on the edge of town and can walk, within an hour, from the post office (at the other end of town) to my actual home, which is tucked back into the mountains with a lovely view that does not include another house, which is just the way I like it. My townsfolk don't keep cows "in town" but many of them could easily lead their cows through town. In some ways my home town might look a bit like Terramagne; in some ways it does look a bit like my favorite corner of the world of most of my conceptual fiction, also.
So what's the difference between that and some of the nasty "planned," meaning "forced or pushed," slummage being slapped up in too many other towns today? One difference between an authentic all-American voluntarily walkable neighborhood, and the slums "Agenda 21" was designed to thrust upon America, is that the former is voluntary. Nobody plans it; it just happens, as people see the benefits of being close to a town but not in the town, most of the time. Another big difference is that the former is sparsely populated--no efforts to attract big-chain stores by pushing toward "density."
A third concept that's vital to this chain of thought is community, as discussed (best and most often) by Wendell Berry. In his kind of community, although and because the benefits of living in the community (town, suburbs, surrounding farmland) are immense, people aren't too worried about their property's resale value. They're not selling. They inherit their homes, hand them down, marry into them. This kind of community doesn't want to "grow"; it recognizes the right size when it reaches it. New people may have to rent apartments for a long time, perhaps a lifetime, before they get a chance to own a house--and this keeps down the number of new people, and prevents the population from exceeding its optimal density. So the community never reaches the kind of density big-chain store owners look for, and, because of that, its "Police Blotter" page in its little weekly newspaper can run for years without a single violent crime. (No, I don't want you to move to my town, if you don't already own property here. I want you to work toward making your town more like mine.)
For example, even though the demographics look nice on paper--lots of Black refugees routed to a town where the majority of residents are also classified as Black--here's how not to build a community. Too many new people at one time. Too many poor people. Not enough jobs...and what this town happens to be known for is tourism, with a main attraction that, whomever it does appeal to (not me), is not likely to appeal to most Black people...American, African, or otherwise. If you think about more than the statistics about "race" on paper, you see why this was a bad idea. Norb Leahy could've told'em...
The Cat Sanctuary has a new "rescued-off-the-street" cat, but so far the resident cats aren't letting me get close. There's always some danger that a street cat was dumped because it might have been exposed to a disease. This one could be mistaken for an undersized, perhaps young, purebred Himalayan from the back, but her face is definitely calico, with a peculiar combination of orange and gray patches that make her face resemble a barn owl's. I call her "Barnie," think she's cute, would like to pet her and vet her and all. My cats say she stinks, and any time I get close enough to see her they set up a chorus of evil-cat howls that sends her off into the woods to hide. I don't know whether she strayed away from a loving home, was dumped because she's obviously not a purebred Himalayan, or is a real feral mongrel who found her way here without human help. I also don't know whether she's a sickly, runty adult cat or a good-sized spring kitten. And, needless to say, I've had no chance to snap any pictures. Please, even though my cats have accepted Inky as the relative she probably is...if you want to send a feral cat or lifelong outdoor pet cat to the Cat Sanctuary, ask. If Barnie is ill, in her current situation there's no way anybody can help her; if she could happily become someone else's pet, there's no way I can help connect her with that person.
For those who may be looking for a novel about teenagers who aren't obsessed with sex or "romance," i.e. with a happy ending in which the boy and the girl aren't hugging or holding hands or simpering at each other:
..."A Study in Charlotte" was the title of one of those novels. It also happens to fit a fair bit of today's and yesterday's breaking news. Here's a story I'm inclined to believe true, because I've been in Charlotte and it seemed like a civilized place to me.
+Beth Ann Chiles had a Grandma Bonnie, too. Obviously this is not Grandma Bonnie Peters; if you click on the link to BAC's Grandma Bonnie's recipe you'll see something that GBP would probably eat, at least if it were served at a party, in my comment below. (As of today I'm not able to confirm whether she ever does put broccoli and corn together, except if they're together in a stir-fry mix, or not.)
I plan to spend this weekend writing a piece of fiction that mashes up a true story about Christians and a Greek myth for Neo-Pagans. I got this idea, and some other ideas that have at least been great fun (posted here if I thought about it in time), from
All writers who have time to consider new ideas/markets should look forward to her Friday afternoon newsletters...I know I do! Oh, wottha...I don't really plan on winning the fiction contest, and I'd just as soon lose to one of you, Gentle Readers, as to anyone else.