On and Off to Houston


Preston Buick in Kansas

My lovely travel companion.

Leaving Minneapolis on the morning of July 9, I arrived in Houston, TX, shortly around 4:00am on Thursday, July 11. Spending the night parked, sleeping in the grass, the sounds of the Texas night yielded to the sunrise. I was too groggy, my eyes drooping, to fully appreciate it, but even then I knew that this was it.

While I was sentimental enough to sketch out some poems on the road, pick flowers from each of the states I passed through (MN, IA, NE, KS, OK, TX), having been here for less than a week it still has not hit me that I’m actually here. I’ve actually graduated and now I’m actually starting the rest of my life. And here I am in Texas.

The next day, July 12, I made my first trip to the lab. To my surprise, having spent the fall wandering this district of the city, I still knew the routes. Parking my car, passing through security, and making my way down the hall, it was suddenly as if there was no time between December and June. It was as if I had never left. Stepping in, seeing familiar faces, everything was relaxed. We cracked jokes, discussed ideas, divided out assignments, and two hours later I was back out the door.

Maneuvering through traffic, it was great to see the city again – the parks K. and I walked through, the museums I loitered around, the roads on which I was wide-eyed lost. Although Texas has a particular reputation – its cities really are beautiful. Even its skylines are a lesson in history: with a limited knowledge of architecture one can see the Houston oil boom and bust, the buildings that went up in the late-’70s and then served as reminders of the good times during the ’80s depression. There are few skyscrapers from the recent past, and it’s obvious that they’re from the road to recovery. This will change, I think, as the city continues to grow (and apparently it has never stopped growing), spurred on by frac mining (The Woodlands, TX, is seeing a huge housing boom because of this).

Unfortunately, it won’t last forever and the skyline will once again be a map of market history.

Now, it’s only Monday, but I’m still unemployed. Even though I will be getting a part-time job to help me get on my feet, I refuse to let my writing settle on to the back-burner. Truthfully, without pen, paper, and time, I start to suffer a spiritual death and begin to lash out at all of the well-intentioned souls worried about my affinity for pacing and heavy breathing. So, for the last three days, after having a cup of coffee, I’ve sat outside writing short stories. When I’m bored of the story, I put it away and write a poem. When I’m bored of the poem, I journal or write letters. When the sun goes down, I move inside and push on until I forget the English language.

There is no way that I’ll make money from my writing, I understand, but there’s nothing else to do in life but write.

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