I’m just wading into a book called “Chicago Stories” edited by John Miller. I picked it up at an estate sale last weekend, and it’s exactly why I go to them in the first place. No matter what else is available for sale, it always starts–and usually ends–with the books. I look for history topics, books about Lincoln, baseball, and Chicago. These are the topics that interest me; they grab my interest and scratch my intellectual itch. And the Chicago Stories book seems to be exactly what I was looking for.
Reading the book’s introduction, I learned about something the writer called the Chicago Tradition (and yes, capitalization was employed for this term). The writer claims that great writers come from lots of different places, but Chicago’s voices have no parallel anywhere else. There’s certainly something that makes this city special, and trying to define it is the task of a lifetime. Fortunately, many attempts at it have been made over the years.
The Introduction to the book ends with a description of the perspective of Chicago. The city has what the writer calls “an allegiance to the heart” that comes from being at the heart of America. As a turn of a phrase, and an attempt at describing something that may appear indescribable, I like it. It speaks to me. It tells me that heart is what we all have, and need to protect in order to survive.
This city always survives its challenges: fires and floods, riots in the street, Lollapalooza. There hasn’t yet been, and there never could be, anything to cut the heart out of this place. That’s why I’ll live here for as long as I live anywhere on earth. That’s why this is home for me.
Bring on the rest of the book. I’m certainly looking forward to it now.