Because we are largely indifferent to sportsball, Quinn and I went for dinner Saturday night at a restaurant in Blacksburg called McClain's that is basically an enormous sports bar. (Instagram told me it was good, and it was.) We grabbed a table on the massive, empty porch, then watched the restaurant fill to fever pitch over the course of an hour and a half before we finally realized, "Oh, yeah, it's game night." The first Virginia Tech football game of this weird, truncated season was being blasted on approximately 8,000 TV screens.

And all of a sudden I'm like, "Wait. Maybe we'll hear 'Enter Sandman.'"

I'm slightly obsessed with this rock anthem that blasts as the Hokie football team enters the field at Lane Stadium because it's this ecstatic communal experience. When I was a newbie, the "Enter Sandman" moment helped establish my place identity here in Blacksburg in a way that goes beyond the "I like this place" of attachment and enters into the realm of "I am a part of this community."

Place identity is like being a Deadhead at a Grateful Dead concert. It's the strange thing we share. For my town, it's "Enter Sandman." For yours, I don't know, your abandoned igloo hotel. As Andrew Solomon points out in Far From the Tree, identity often stems from shared defects. We just have to learn to be weird together.
Shameless self-promotion portion of the newsletter: I got to chat with Jeff Siegler and Phil Eich for their Pod Places podcast last week (and by the way did a very deep dive on their website Proud Places). I also wrote about my daughter's college plans (or lack thereof) for the Washington Post, about van life for Business Insider, and about loving where you live in a pandemic for Evie Magazine
7 items of interest
  1. Know your enneagram number? (I think I'm an eight.) Proud Places tells you what that means for contributing to your city.
  2. "What I’m wistful for is a version of my hometown that maybe never existed in the first place." On joining your hometown's Facebook group.
  3. TBH, I'm a library gal, but I bought the book for next month's book club from a locally owned Virginia bookstore because I want these places to survive. The beloved Ann Patchett explains what it's like to run an indie bookstore right now. (Hint: It involves ballgowns and a piñata metaphor.) Meanwhile, a town in Washington printed its own currency!
  4. A solid guide to engaging people in your city when no one can meet in person (thanks, covid). Hooray for virtual town halls! 
  5. The question every community needs to answer right now: If I'm Black, why should I live here?
  6. All the feels about this guy being a kind neighbor. (And look how many people participated!) Maybe this idea next?
  7. Hot debate: Are people leaving cities right now? Is the Heartland thriving regardless?
xoxo, Melody
P.S.—As always, random bonus material for reading this far: My future yard art. I actually have a Marty! Watching this and this makes me appreciate cushy things like regular sleep. Make your own personal Yelp. I've given three different novels five stars on Goodreads recently. What really counts. I could watch this bit of joy again and again. Just bought one of these. Still saving for one of these. Have I mentioned how obsessed I am with crosswords lately? A favorite newsletter. You watched this, right? A Chrome extension you need. What I did this weekend. Finally, it's pumpkin season
Copyright © 2020 Melody Warnick, All rights reserved.

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Melody Warnick · 1006 Kentwood Dr · Blacksburg, VA 24060 · USA

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