Friday, August 12, 2011

Coming Home Tour Countdown - The ATL

Afternoon, everyone! Here's the third official blog post for the Coming Home Tour Countdown! This week, BJ and I are basically answering the unasked question - why Atlanta? - and giving you an idea of landmarks we plan to visit once we get there. And remember to answer the questions on my blog to be eligible for the giveaway!


When I was 9, me and one of my dearest friends (still to this day) swore we were going to Spelman for college because it was the best all-girl black college out there.

That plan never did pan out.

When I was thirteen, my uncle, sister, and I went to the Olympics and saw various events--track & field and gymnastics are the two that particularly stick out to me. Dominique Dawes was a tiny little dot when she was performing, but we didn't care because it was awesome for us to see our favorite gymnast in person.

A year or so later, we went to Turner Field to catch an Atlanta Braves game (our favorite baseball team) in the nosebleed seats of the brand new facility. I couldn't tell you who won, but it was fun.

The next time I'm in Atlanta is in 2005. The new pope was being named and my college choir was doing a tour of Atlanta. We toured the MLK site and sat in Ebenezer Baptist Church, and I had a moment. We sang at CNN. There were too many Peachtrees for my mostly non-Southern compatriots. And as soon as we hit our first Southern stop (we took a bus down from Boston and we stopped in Charlotte), I cried over the double waffle order I had at Waffle House because it was so good to be "home" after a long, cold, arduous senior year of finals and thesis writing (that'd I'd, incidentally, turned in days before I'd left for the Atlanta tour!).

The reason why I'd chosen Atlanta as a central location in Reconstructing Jada Channing, and then Georgia for Plumville, was because it was a central location in the South, and a "big Southern city" people would recognize. Whenever people think of cities, the South isn't usually where people mentally go, but cities are also associated with diversity and progressiveness, even though many times that's merely a facade. So, I thought it was a good reference point, but then I could create towns like Plumville and little communities like the one Jada's from, and flesh it out for everyday people just living everyday lives, but those lives are extraordinary to them. And for someone like Jada, though she sees the Westin in the skyline many a time, she's never set foot in it. Or though Atlanta is merely an hour away for Coralee, she doesn't have the freedom Benny has to make those weekend trips to the movies like he can; in fact, the only reason why anyone goes to Atlanta, in her world, is because of some sort of trouble. And how is it one city can change so much over generations, but, in many ways, stay the same?

I'm excited to go back to Atlanta, particularly now since I have family there - both actual and fictive. I'm excited to go with my girl BJ, because this reunion has certainly been a long time coming. She was one of the first people to read Being Plumville when it was in its infancy and her comments were so invaluable to me, y'all don't know. I'm excited to meet those who've read my work, and a little nervous too, not gonna lie! I'm just excited and I hope all of you can come and share in this with us. I promise you won't regret it!

~ bana

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