Nothing acts as a better “college homework initiation ceremony” than being assigned a healthy, plump folder of reading material. From graphic novel excerpts to pieces of books, the question faced stands: which work should be focused on? The central idea of our class’s first lecture was curiosity, and there was no doubt as to which piece left me most desperate for more knowledge. Not even halfway through the excerpt of Aleksander Hemon’s work, I found my cursor moving to open a new window in Google Chrome, searching “Hyde Park Parakeets.” Subsequently, I have a trip planned to the park and an ample amount of new knowledge regarding some resilient green birds.
People are naturally attracted to what intrigues them, and Hemon’s book, Reasons Why I Do Not Wish to Leave Chicago: An Incomplete, Random List, provokes natural curiosity with every number. Each sort, sweet point is so different from the knowledge preceding it; you never know which Chicago insight will be revealed next. The work could be written by no other than someone who has lived in Chicago for many years and truly considers the place to be a home. The intimacy between Hemon and the city is palpable in every sentence.
He goes to describe the downtown skyline at night, long and humid summer days, and sailboats bobbing in the wind with not just detail, but also a deep sense of familiarity. The way that he speaks reflects a deeply personal relationship with Chicago. With brief, clear statements, the writing attracts those who are easily distracted or have trouble maintaining attention through long, droning writing. His reflections inspire readers to notice such small, artistic moments in their story in the city. Hemon romanticizes standing in the cold, waiting drearily for the train—he makes a simple observation of the green-gray lake in fall weather sound like poetry. Just reading a page of his writing has awaked my perception and sparked life into my senses, so that I, too, am able to find a beautiful event in even the most tiny, mundane moments. And, if I’m lucky, maybe I’ll even spot a green Hyde Park parakeet, too. (Courtney Cusack/City of Stories Student).