Hi, my name is Christopher Anderson. My wife, Michelle Barton, and I moved our young son Atticus (3 months at the time) to Gloucester after I graduated from the MFA program in Fiction at Texas State University in 2006. I’d been offered a half-time position at a small college in New Hampshire, and having just bought a home in the Hill Country of central Texas, a new, barely paying job and Gloucester seemed the logical choice. Really.
Teaching jobs at the college level are hard to come by, especially teaching creative writing, so there’s that. And we have good, dear friends in Gloucester–an old roommate from earlier days in Cambridge and her family (we’re both originally from Texas, but did a few years in the Boston area for school). With me gone several days a week and Michelle caring for a brand new baby, I wanted to make the landing as soft as possible. See? It all makes sense.
But the original plan was to just stay here a year, then move closer to the college once we’d gotten our feet on the ground. Then we made more friends, fell in love with Gloucester, and moving is no longer an option. So Michelle’s working at Duckworth’s Bistrot these days, and, after the college I was teaching at closed unexpectedly (wtf?), I’m piecing together some new projects right here in Gloucester. Our kids (a second, Meadow, arrived three and a half ago), well they deserve to live around so much beauty.
Our goal is to provide a newcomer’s prospective, as we still see this place with a newcomer’s eye, constantly discovering new, amazing things we’ve not seen before. We also want to share some of what has become our favorite everyday stuff, too. My wife says Gloucester is funky fresh, with its history in both the maritime trades and in the arts, its sometimes brown water, drunken Fiesta greasy poles, ginormous potholes, and world class dining (though it could be even better with a little Indian food). I agree. We have funky fresh neighbors, friends, artists, fishermen, lobstermen, and more. What’s not to love? We love food, music, and being outside in all that Cape Ann has to offer, so posts will probably lean in those directions. And we’re photography geeks, so there’ll be some of that, too.
And I guess that idea of Gloucester being funky fresh resonates with us having lived around Austin for a time. There’s a pretty successful movement, I guess you’d call it, to Keep Austin Weird. Residents embrace local businesses and culture, building a fairly well integrated community while trying their best to not buy into the big box culture (oh, there’s some of that there, too, but maybe not quite as much). I feel that this movement is so successful in Austin because it names something that existed long beforehand–Austin has always been a little funky, with some of the most colorful characters you could ever hope to meet (sound familiar?). Artists share beers at outdoors bars with mechanics, lawyers hang out with their kids at local parks alongside musicians and restaurant managers and dishwashers. Old low-riding Chevy’s and brand new Mercedes cruise Austin’s roads sporting Keep Austin Weird stickers. If you haven’t been, I strongly suggest you visit. Aside from the late summer heat (equivalent to our late winter cold), Austin is one of the best places to live in America. I believe Oprah even named it thus, not that that counts for anything really. Utterly beautiful, and tons of fun. Everything’s a little different in Austin. Weird, but in a great way. Again, a lot like Gloucester.
Please check in from time to time. We’ll do our best to keep this updated a few times a week month.**
**Let’s be honest–we’ll do what we can!