When the World Sucks, Make Art

I’m new to Pollyanna, on account of everyone here being born straight out of the dirt, it seems. A lot of people I know grew up here and their parents grew up here and as far back as anyone remembers, there’s just Pollyanna  family and friends and everyone who knows everyone in Hendersonville.

I’ve met friends who were raised in Goodlettsville, Gallatin, and even metro Nashville. They’ve told me about how Hendersonville used to be a stretch of road between Nashville and Gallatin:  a bedside community. But these are days I’m not familiar with, as I’ve only been here for about ten years; long enough, I feel, to consider myself a Hendersonvillian, although feel free to disagree.

There’s something remarkable about this place, isn’t there? We even up and moved away for a year before turning around and heading straight back. I became homesick for things like the greenway, Sanders Ferry Park, the Starbucks on Main (which is more of a neighborhood cafe of familiar faces), and the hidden treasures down Walton Ferry, such as Lock 3 in the sweltering summer heat. Where else can you see a mom and her three girls playing in the water and not two feet away is a dirty baby with a sagging Luvs bumping along the sand?

Ah, good ol’ Hendersonville. It’s by far, one of my favorite places.

There are a lot of characters here, in addition to interesting places to get lost in. We even have a neat little history of great big musicians who’ve been drawn to Hendersonville for  lakefront property. Johnny and June Cash come to mind. Roy Orbison, although, did he live on the lake? The Oak Ridge Boys. Marty Stuart.

Hands down, I’m a Walton Ferry girl; although, we’ve since moved up the road a jaunt. If I could own a home anywhere and square footage wasn’t an issue (we are a family of six, for reference), I would live in a quaint little home around Nokes and Stadium Drive. I’d have a little garden in the backyard and wind chimes on the front porch.

The arboretum is Hendersonville’s best kept secret, even though I’m certain the cat has been out of the bag for quite a while now. I had heard about the arboretum about eight years ago from a friend of a friend, and once I discovered it for myself, it became my favorite neighborhood get away. Nothing beats a 5 am run with views of the sun coming up over Old Hickory Lake. Once they put in the wonky sidewalks (Who the hell puts a guardrail on the opposite side, thus expanding the street a spell and in no way protecting the pedestrian?), my best runs took me through Hickory Grove, out to Lock 3, through Chesapeake Harbor, up to Windstar Bay, and out to the arboretum and back. If I remember correctly, this was my 10k route.

Hendersonville is thick with political divisiveness right now, but I’m pretty sure someone will either A.) Tell you that CNN told me that, or B.) Tell you that Fox brainwashed me into thinking that.

In actuality, I don’t know what in the fuck (pardon my language) is going on right now, and I’m completely dumbfounded. The country has gone nuts, and Hendersonville, although still eerily quiet for the most part, is riding along on the same bandwagon with the rest of the country. The primary campaign mailers were full of accusations of things like debaucery and sin and Washington, while claiming heroically to align with Trump’s plan, and somewhere in there, God.

It was all atrocious, really, but I’m not going to say anything. I’ll be a nice, agreeable Hendersonville Pollyanna wife.

Politics aside (whew, glad we got that out of our system and have cleared the air of the readers I just lost), I’m writing a fiction story, and you know what? I’m having a blast doing it!

My life right now is just kind of weird. It’s not bad weird, just, I’m-forty-and-figuring-shit-out-right-now kind of weird. Thanks to some friends who are the most freaking wonderful and real and honest women I know, I’m assured that this is perhaps a “phase” in life. To where it leads me, I’ve no clue, but I’m along for the ride and trusting my muse.

I’m just this mom sitting in a little homemade office she designed at the little desk her husband built for her for her birthday. I couldn’t for the life of me get my son to take a nap. He’s 1.5 years old, and I’ve forgotten since his youngest sister was a baby, exactly how this whole thing works. And let me tell you, I’m truly blessed to have forgotten. With this fourth and last, surprise, super special, one kidney wonder boy, I’ve finally learned to relax. (Well, just so long as I keep my incoming news to a review in the mornings over a cup of coffee and then turn off “the world” for the rest of the day in favor of creating art.)

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Here I sit, typing into the void from Space Force, reporting that, I really do care. I wanted to save the world, and maybe in some small way I am. I’ve done a few things to connect women in my community. We’ve collectively given to mothers, children, and organizations in Hendersonville and Nashville. In some way, I’m making my mark, albeit almost unnoticeable, I suppose, in the greater scheme of things. Every little bit counts, though, right? Part of me wants to remain hopeful and to dream that that’s still true of the way society works.

Is there something about political unrest that brings out the artists? The painters and the poets; the dancers and musicians; the writers; the filmmakers; the makers of dreams? All those souls who feel the world so much, that when it gets really heavy, we can almost explode from the inside out, or perhaps we shut down in that exact same way?

If so, perhaps that’s where I need to be right now:  Simply writing. Creating.

My story takes place in Hendersonville and Nashville. It touches on mental illness, suicide, wealth, prestige, social circles, fundamentalist christian values, adultery, Vietnam, blue collar work, racial tension, and broken dreams:  a process of  falling and breaking; believing and seeing; knowing and accepting; forgiving and moving on.

If the world is going to suck this much, I’m going to make art. I’ll take the small chance that in some way I can bring something useful, necessary, and even beautiful into the world. That sounds really nice.