Pursuits of Happiness; Or, Another Day in H-Town

This piece was reprinted in the 16 June 2013 Sunday edition of The Houston Chronicle as an essay in the Star features section.

Once I was at a conference in Dallas, or “Big-D” as they like to call it.  I think they like to call it that as it is almost the same exact thing as saying “Big Deal,” and so that tells you something right there.  The keynote was a well-known writer, Susan Orlean, and she had gotten famous writing pieces for The New Yorker and books of essays with exotic titles such as The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup.  She even wrote a book called The Orchid Thief which was made into a movie called “Adaptation” with Nicolas Cage and Meryl Streep, so I was super excited to hear her.  I liked her writing, the way she observed things around her, put those things into prose that would stick with you, had the guts to talk to people she had never met.  In fact, you could say that I had an irrational exuberance regarding my second row seats in the Hilton ballroom where she was speaking.  Sometimes, there is no getting around it:  things are so thrilling, and it is impossible to be sad even if you have a really good reason.

But the first thing out of her mouth was, “I am so happy to be in Dallas, and not Houston. Houston is a hard city to love.” Continue reading