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I feel a little justified or vindicated in my hobbies ’cause both my grandfathers are serious amateur photographers. It’s in my blood: trees, photographs, and cities. Last time I was in Texas, I took this picture from the pile of things to trash. My mother’s father took it, at Puget Sound in the fifties or sixties or seventies. It’s so strange: Seattle is somewhere I go and love now, and I never pictured him there, but it looks exactly like a picture I’d take.

When I got home this summer, that watercolor was on my pillow. “Oh, yes — ” my mother said, “that was at a yard sale a couple of weeks ago and I kept looking at it and thinking I knew where it was, and Stacy said, ‘that’s the Spanish Steps!’ So I decided to get it for you. I hope it’s okay.” She didn’t know I’d spent several nights and afternoons on the Steps, thinking and praying and watching. I love the Spagna metro escalator very much.

So those two prints sit by each other on my bookshelf and desk, tying up Houston and Rome and Seattle.

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Today Sarah quoted Sheila Hati at me: all of these people, she summarized, are so different and so interesting but observing them doesn’t tell me how I should be, because all their characteristics fit them so perfectly, and they are them.

I am an amalgam, too; I’m not like you. From Philadelphia nominally, but I think of myself as Texas and Minnesota and maybe Vancouver, and I am coffee in Austin and the green drives of Philadelphia and even bookstores in St. Louis and always the best at finding somewhere good to eat, drink, and read; and I am being, everywhere.

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