Friday, April 2, 2010

Austin, the Friendly City

Where Love Once Lived is set in the current time in Austin, Texas. However, the male protagonist has lived in California for the past thirty years and his memory of Austin is different than the way the city is today. It doesn't bother him that Austin's slogan has changed from Austin the Friendly City to Keep Austin Weird. He doesn't even notice. He finds the place on Dry Creek near Mt. Bonnell Road where he and his college buddies rented a cabin and he builds his house there, including a replica of the cabin that had fallen to the ground from decay. Brian is determined to recapture his youth, and marry his college sweetheart. He buys a bookmobile, because that was the last place where he had been with Karen, and makes a deal with the city to try it for year as long as he pays the expenses.

In addition to the cabin, scenes take place at an elementary school built in the 1950's, Mt. Bonnell, Clarksville, and the city library (the old one, not the new one), the University of Texas campus, and Manor.

It was fun revisiting the Austin of the past while writing the book, and I hope you'll enjoy reading about it. I was born in Austin and went through school there. I joined the Marines after learning I wasn't ready for college, and didn't get back to Austin for 20 plus years. It had changed so much by then I hardly knew where I was. But, it didn't matter. Everywhere I went I could see and feel the past, the place where the memories lived. Once, I told an old friend I'd meet him at the drug store. When we both got there, we noticed the corner we'd been thinking about was now a strip mall and there wasn't a drug store anywhere near there. Another fun thing is that we, my buddies and I, know routes through town that newcomers don't.

How about you? Have you experienced a change in your life or your surroundings that made you wish for the good old days? Were the good old days as good as you remember? How do you handle change? Do you embrace it or fight it? Place is not as important as who you are. You can take your beliefs and faith in God wherever you go. Likewise, you can't move to another place to get away from problems. They go with you, too.

In Where Love Once Lived, Brian never recaptures his youth, of course, because that's impossible. But he does learn that what he was searching for was the love of God.

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