Fayetteville: A Kumbaya History? | Street Jazz

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fayetteville: A Kumbaya History?

Posted By on Sat, Oct 2, 2010 at 11:18 AM

I’ve been working on my next book about Fayetteville, drawn from past newspaper articles I have written, and even some of my blogs. It’s a sort of companion book to Ozark Mosaic, in that it it is meant to show the passions and struggles of the men and women who strive to make Fayetteville better place to live in.

And, like Mosaic, it will highlight folks from all walks of life - from the creative folks to political figures to the average man or woman who dares to speak to the powers-that-be. I’ve always sort of despaired when I’ve gone into a library and looked for book about Fayetteville; it seems our weitten history ust sort of stops after the Civil War,

After that? Well, we’ve got lots of books of photographs. And many of them are quite lovely. But I want to know about flesh and blood people. I want to read books about why our community is the way it is, warts and all.

Hence Ozark Mosaic, which has never made me rich, to put it mildly) but some people seem to appreciate.

My new book will follow along the same lines, featuring profiles on folks such as Brenda Moossy, Paula Marinoni, Mohja Kahf, Dr. William Harrison, Laurie Taylor (now Masterson), Adam Firecat, Kabin Thomas. Lowell Grisham, Green Party candidate John Gray, and a whole host of others. Some I agreed with, some I didn’t, but they have all left their mark.

I’m having a lot of fun in putting it together.

You might imagine my surprise when I got an email last week suggesting that this next book should differ in tone rom Ozark Mosaic, and that I should present a kinder, gentler image of Fayetteville. After all, this person’s line of reasining went, my book was likely to be read by newcomers to Fayetteville (since, like my other book, it will probably be in the library) and that it is really important for people to see the positive things about Fayetteville and Northwest Arkansas.

All of that unpleasantness in the past? Why stir up painful memories?

My first thought was, wow, that would be a boring book to read!

My second, and the more important response is this:

I already know that I’m not writing something that Fayetteville’s Visitor’s is likely to have on its shelves, or the Chamber of Commerce is going to be promoting as recommended reading for newcomers to our shores. Then again, it isn’t as though some of the stories aren’t sort of inspiring.

But I really do feel that it is important that there be a record of the individuals who have made contributions to the community - and not just bankers, real estate developers, or corporate leaders.

I think that we need to know about men and women who were creative, and passionate, and worked against the darkness.

When people say that Fayetteville is the only place in Northwest Arkansas they would choose to live in, they aren’t talking about pretty buildings, or sidewalks, or things of that nature. They are talking about community spirit, a spirit that engages and inspires people - much to the discomfort of those who forget that humanity is the first order of business for any city.

So, no, I won’t be writing Fayetteville: A Kumbaya History anytime soon. I’m sure the Chamber can find someone to write that one, though . . .

******

Quote of the Day

Suddenly, it becomes a subversion of progress to assert the common-sense principle that communities exist for the health and enjoyment of those who live in them, not for the convenience of those who drive through them, fly over them, or exploit them for their real estate. - Theodore Roszak

rsdrake@cox.net

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