I hope you all will join me in giving a big, warm welcome to author Lilli Feisty. I was very moved by her heartfelt post, and think you will be too. We’re all a community here, too, so give Lilli a big shout out and supportive cyber hug today.
Oh, and Lilli–I’d be one of the people to be just as excited as you are when you say, “Reno!”
First off, thanks for having me on your blog. Second off, I have a hard time writing blogs that are short. So hopefully, dear readers, you can stay with me and I hope you like my little blog on my experience of living in Reno during the recent months. ?
Okay, so I am in Reno. Reno is fantastic town. We have lots of things. Whenever people ask me, “where are you from?” I answer, “Reno!” because that is where I live and I like it. People are always surprised. Like, they give me this shocked look. I understand that look. Before I moved to Reno I would give people the same look: like, why the fuck do you live in Reno? It’s in the middle of the desert, it has no culture, it’s full of casinos and it’s full of tourists walking around in a drunken stupor, smoking cigarettes and clutching oversized plastic cups of booze as they stumble between slot machines.
Well, that’s all kind of true. But the high desert is beautiful. And I can be at Lake Tahoe within thirty minutes. Or hiking near the Yuba River. Or visiting the Nevada Museum of art or any of the number of wonderful galleries or art showings.
See, we have culture. You have to do dig deep. Reno has a deeply ingrained culture born from a strong sense of community. And even if you’re not looking for it, it will find you.
Why am I writing this blog post? Well, recently we had a huge fire. In fact, it started three days ago about midnight. It burned thirty homes and damaged forty-two others. The voluntary evacuee line was really close to my house. Despite the 50 mps winds blowing straight my way, I knew I’d be fine. Despite horrible conditions, our response teams had already done an amazing job containing the fire. Still, thousands were displaced, many lost their homes, and the whole city felt it in their own way. And everyone wanted to help however humanitarian means they can contribute.
On Friday the smoke was blowing straight into my ‘hood and I have a hard time breathing in a lot of smoke due to an annoying case of asthma. So I did what any girl would. I grabbed my bottle of vodka, went to up my girlfriend’s house, and we proceeded to get drunk. She graciously let me stay up their all weekend. Safe, thankful and ready to take in any strays, we watched the news and kept updated on anyone who needed anything. We stand together. We stay near family. We help. We build and rebuild things. In Reno, that’s what we do.
This fire is following the recent fatal crashes during the world-famous famous Reno Air Races, an Amtrak crash, multiple shootings during Street Vibrations (a hugely popular motorcycle event), my neighbor got stabbed while working at a local nightclub; lately, this town has seen some shit.
And yet we still love it here. We love it here. Because this is a city but we pull together like small town. I’ve seen it over and over.
When the fires started, small businesses began announcing they were giving out free meals and coffee. Casinos offered free rooms to those displaced due to being evacuated—and they allowed pets. On Facebook, locals posted that they were willing to help people move out of their homes and offered a place to stay. My friend’s tattoo shop also offered shelter and assistance. That’s how we roll here. Reno is a city with a phenomenal community.
(Interesting fact: How did I find out about the fires? This guy I’m seeing is working in New York and woke me up with a text asking if I could go check on his dog. I was like, what fires? Fire? Then I realized the fires were a lot closer to ME than his dog. He never did ask how I was. But I’m not bitter.)
Why am I writing a blog about Reno? Because I strongly believe in community. I think that, no matter where anyone lives, it’s the community that is the heart of any location. Community creates culture, art, home and heart.
So I’m writing this right now because everything this town has experienced during this past year has made me believe that people are good. This entire country is living in some hard times. But I truly believe we have a unique opportunity to use our experiences, how trying they may be, to stand strong and help each other.
Big city or small, we all live in communities. I’ve lived in a lot of places. My upcoming release from Grand Central Publishing, Deliciously Sinful, takes place in a small town in northern California. It’s based on my own experiences living in small towns. It’s a love story that centers around a community. Small towns, big towns-whatever. I believe in community. Community is what will, in the grand scope of things, keep us going.
I write about love. I believe community is love, it promotes love. What do you think
Comment on Lilli’s post to qualify to win a $5 Amazon gift card tomorrow morning PLUS, winner’s choice of either The Whore or Sting of Desire by Lillian Feisty! And be sure you’re entered for the Kindle Touch 3-G, because it’s being given away this Wednesday! Enter here.