When the world feels smaller

A few years ago, during the Texas Book Festival, the authors were invited to a fancy party. The host was a local politician, I believe, and his house was immense, a townhouse of several stories located a few blocks from the Texas Capitol. One of the roof decks had a pool (there was more than one roof deck). I think I remember a putting green. A hundred-plus people were milling around and I didn’t know anybody, so I got a drink from one of the bars (there were multiple bars) and asked the nearest stranger his name.

Michael Frank was visiting from New York City to promote a memoir he’d just published about growing up in Southern California, called The Mighty Franks, though truthfully much of the book was about his grandmothers, he explained, who had lived together in Los Angeles after their husbands passed away, in a two-story apartment building from the 1920s, located below Laurel Canyon, on North Ogden Drive, above Sunset Boulevard, with a courtyard full of flowers.

Which made for a bit of a shock when I told Frank that the apartment we were renting at that time was also below Laurel Canyon, on North Ogden, just above Sunset—the same exact building from the ‘20s, and the apartment, we quickly figured out, was the apartment, same floor, same layout, overlooking the courtyard: an apartment he knew intimately from visiting his grandmothers as a child, and one where, before we’d signed the lease, the landlord had told us he didn’t care about a credit check, but he wanted to know our favorite colors and astrological signs, to see if we’d be a good fit for the building’s vibes.

The point is, even in a place as big as Texas, sometimes the world can feel very small.

What the what? An occasional newsletter by Rosecrans Baldwin of (very) short essays about things he finds beautiful. Any books mentioned are on a list at Bookshop.

Rosecrans’s next book, Everything Now, forthcoming June 15, 2021, is available for preorder via AmazonBookshop, or your local store. You can find more information at his website.