While there is no ‘great Houston Novel,’ a lot of good stories have come out of the city, many of which are told in David Theis’s Literary Houston, an anthology of writing on and about ‘the Bayou city’. Stories, because Houston is a place where people come to DO things, ‘To fly to the moon, create empires, build fortresses against cancer, and temples to surrealism’ as Theis puts it.
I met him at a cafe just off Houston’s busy Westheimer street. Seems like everywhere we moved something or someone very noisy decided to followed us. Still, we had an interesting conversation. Hope you enjoy it.
Christopher Hitchens died last December at Houston’s M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
I re-read his Letters to a Young Contrarian on the flight down here. The next day I took the light rail train from our hotel in to town. It passed by the Center. Just seeing the place for those fleeting seconds was a very moving, emotional experience.
The relationships we establish with writers can be pretty intense. Visiting places described in their works where births, childhoods, marriages and deaths – real or imagined – take place, helps us to ‘connect’ with our literary heroes. It’s hardly rational, but I know from experience that it can be very powerful.
Christopher Hitchens’s writing and debating touched and influenced many. It stimulated a lot of important public discussion. Though his ties with Houston may be limited – all he did here was die – he will always be associated with the place.