14. The Secret Life of a House is the real story of Nashville neighborhoods.

Pregnant with their first child, Dr. Alex Bars, wife of former NFL Giants lineman and Montgomery Bell Academy Alumnus Brad Bars, stands by a window in her family’s modest but historic Sylvan Park home days before giving birth, June 2019. Though their story is not world news it is news common to the world, which means it is actually the most important news of all.

From the journal:

4 February 2019: “Last night my friend asked, “What is the guiding idea of this We Are Nashville project?”

I said that after being here eighteen months I have started to see Nashville as a family. But it is a family grown so big it no longer knows its family members. I said maybe our goal is to make a family portrait of this city. Maybe this family portrait becomes a virtual family reunion.

My friend said, “It’s been a long time since Nashville had a family reunion.”

“Yes,” I said. “I’m told the 2010 flood was the last family reunion. But maybe that was really a family emergency. Maybe this story will be Nashville’s first family reunion where all the different cousins get to meet one another for the first time.”

A story about different parts of a city is only a story about a city’s aspects: Music. Food. Culture. Crime. A tragic weather event. To tell the actual story of a city you must tell people’s stories. And to tell their stories you have to go behind closed doors into the secret places out of public view.

The life of the city begins and ends in the secret life of the house.

Side view of pregnant woman standing at a curtain-covered window. She is in simple, one-shade, knee high dress and has her hands resting on top of her very large belly with her head bowed dramatically. Black and white photo with stark contrasts of light and dark, the curtain reveals a bright rectangle of light behind her. Her legs, face, and arms are delicately lit by reflected light coming through the rectangle. Her hair is long blond.

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