Up the Mountain, Into the Woods: Two Weeks at Wildacres

For Judi Hill

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“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods

1.  Houston

The thrill of the city is that it is always moving:  you will never run out of things to do. Houston holds out her hand, and you take, take, take:  The Alley Theater, The Houston Symphony, The Menil Collection.  I could never leave and still feel like I was touring the globe.  We don’t have to try to be diverse, multicultural, international, endlessly interesting.  We already are.  Many days, I spiral the city on Beltway 8, driving to my university in the southwest part of the city.  There is a lot of concrete, brick, and mortar around me.  Nature has been tamed for so much for our progress.  Nature punctuates the city, not the other way around.

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Ten Great Things about The Great Gatsby

On April 10th, 1925 F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby was published, and whenever I hear anyone say that they are going to “write The Great American Novel,” I am pretty sure that this is the book that is swimming in everyone’s head.  I know it is the first one I think of, and I am not alone.  When the movie was coming out with Leonardo DiCaprio, I celebrated this anniversary of the novel by becoming completely obsessed with the May premiere of the big Baz Luhrmann film version, and I began a big one-month countdown to the opening.  I wasn’t sure if I could wait that long, but if Jay Gatsby could wait five years to see Daisy Fay Buchanan again, then I guessed I could wait one month for this film.  Guess what? I survived.

But whether you loved or hated the Leo movie, the Redford version, or the play version that was performed in Galveston last month at The Grand, here are ten great things about The Great Gatsby (the book, that is) that will remind you of why it is just so, well, great.

1.  Best Opening Lines in a Novel:  “In my younger and more vulnerable years, my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.  “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in the world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”

This is great because you can also use this on your own kids, even if it isn’t really true.

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