"I am not telling you to write about Fort Wayne because it is interesting, but because it is our home. And you must first write about your home before you write about anything else," he said.

"I write about Fort Wayne because I am from Fort Wayne, and in every sound I can feel something of that place echoing in mind. It is defining in a way that few other characteristics can be, and for that alone we must begin to declare a new style of writing, marked by the land as if it were a map onto itself."

"I lived in Fort Wayne during a very important time in my young life when I was still red-hot in the fire and capable of being formed. It was there that I first fell in love and then back out of it. It was there I dreamed of incredible things."

He paused before continuing.

"It was there I first learned of disappointment and what we might call 'realistic expectations,'" he said. "Sewn into my heart is the pervasive need to settle, the near-constant scourge of the Midwestern mentality that chokes off aspiration in favor of what is easy," he said.

"I write Fort Wayne in a minor key because that is the city I remember. I write Fort Wayne in desperate tones, unable to recognize in itself the incredible beauty and history of the land. It is always searching to keep up with some trend that wouldn't matter, if only we could keep our view of space and time on a geologic scale," he said.

"And I write this story so that other people will take up in the Fort Wayne school of fiction and disagree with me, maybe write something with a bit of humor in it," he said, smiling. "I'm just here to hold the place until the real ones come along and show us what they hear, what they see in this place we share."

"I will finish this story," he said, "I will finish Anthropolowhat. And then I will write something else. But this story is first and this story is the most important. This story is to remember, to understand, and to apologize."

"Apologize for what?" she asked.

"The over-indulgence of writing our own histories," he said. "And because I will not forgive you if you do not do the same."

Elliott Berdan lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He writes at anthropolowhat.blogspot.com, where this was initially published.

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