Since I moved back here from Nashville in December of 2006 I’ve felt largely ambivalent about Charlotte. My whole life was wrapped up in school for three years, so I never really saw things or made friends outside of people in school with me, and for various reasons the friends I made in school were never really the kind I just hung out with much, even though I value their friendship so much and am so glad I’ve become friends with them. But I lived a decent distance from them, since they lived near school and I didn’t. Plus everyone was so busy that by the end of the day, at least with grad students, I think we just wanted to get out of there and go home. I never had much reason or chance to spend time in Charlotte either, seeing the city and learning more about it. So the whole time I’ve been in school I’ve felt a little removed from this place and these people, just waiting until I was done with school and could move somewhere else, maybe back to Nashville, where I could sit on porches and hang out with friends again like I used to.
But now, as I’m getting to the end of my time at school and really having to come to grips with what my life might be like from now on, I’m really beginning to start liking Charlotte. There are new museums opening up, and the arts scene is kind of thriving for the kind of city Charlotte is. I’m learning that there is a real music scene here, one that reminds me of the kind of things my friends do in Nashville. There are decent bars and cool little neighborhoods. Charlotte is kind of a nice place to be right now.
A lot of the close friends I had in Nashville were artists, whether musicians or photographers or writers or something else, and they were all genuine, heartfelt, and loving. To be honest, my friends in Nashville are the kind of people everyone should have in their life, and I lucked into being able to have relationships with a whole group of those people. And through random chance connections I’ve managed to be accepted into another group of creative people here who are much more interesting than I am. I don’t even really know how it happened but all of a sudden I’m meeting musicians and artists and writers, people who are passionate about art and creativity, and who inspire me to be better at what I do. I think there’s a kind of spiritual aspect to it too, as both most of my friends in Nashville and most of the people I’ve met recently in Charlotte share at least the basics of my personal faith; having that in common allows for a sense of comfort, I think.
So now I’m starting to like Charlotte. I always told people that Charlotte was last on my list of places I’d look for jobs, but now it’s not. Nashville is still first, I think, and L.A. is still second, but somehow, unexpectedly, surprisingly, Charlotte might even be third. I just want to spend time with these people I’m meeting, and if I have to live here to do that I think I’d be okay with that.