Finding Inspiration: What Do You Love About America?

I’ve lived in a lot of places in America and beyond—one of the fringe benefits of a restless spirit and a chosen profession that’s allowed me to tell stories and make a living (more or less) wherever I went. Born in Chicago, went to college near Philadelphia, worked in Washington, DC, then near Pittsburgh, then London, England, then Norfolk, Virginia, then New York, Helsinki, Moscow, Los Angeles, and now Arizona. Each locale has had its own special qualities.

But for me, it was New York and LA that made me especially proud to be an American. Why? Because of the kaleidoscopic variety of people that were drawn there. They reminded me how America has been a magnet, a place of opportunity and dreams, and a place to escape some of the horrors that bedevil many other countries. (Detail: I love having many friends who speak English with accents evoking their countries of origin.)

It’s part of why these last four years have been so painful— the encouragement of white supremacy, the hostility toward diversity and immigrants, the repellant attitude toward refugees, the policies that turned off and scared away so many talented and hungry people from around the world. It’s part of why I remain so hopeful that we can one day soon become that alluring country again. Yes, a proud nation of immigrants.

What about you? Where do you find inspiration? What do you love about America? I’m looking forward to reading about your experiences and learning what moves you.

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