EL PASO – HOUSTON
OMG! Houston, we have a problem.
Get it? I just realised what going to Houston means.
It’s more than Texas; it’s space country!
As I board the train for Houston – 19 rockin’ rollin’ ridin’ hours from El Paso – I wonder why the American story is so much more exciting than our own?
And why do I know more about America than anywhere else?
It’s a question I’ve been pondering since I started singing LA International Ai-air-port as I was getting ready to fly from home, two weeks ago.
A question that tumbled with me through LA.
A question that’s rolled with me and my wandering mind across the USA’s southern border . . . why do I know so much about America?
And the answer is this: they are master storytellers.
They have romanticised every story that’s ever been lived, imagined and told about their people and their country. AND they are in love with themselves.
And that is not a bad thing.
And so I began to imagine what Australia might he like if we loved ourselves and our stories so much we wanted to tell all the world our stories, invest in them, polish them, romanticise them, illuminate them and blast them coast to coast.
Humans love stories. And Americans have told their stories with such enthusiasm that they have seeped into the very bones of the rest of us, capturing our hearts and our spirits along the way.
As I watch the plains roll by outside the train window I realise there is nothing that has happened in this land that hasn’t happened in my own or others. The story of America is one of colonisation and isolation, of animals and slaughter and neglect, of human endeavour, recklessness, adventure, tragedy, victory and blame. Americans do not have a monopoly on any of this.
But they are master storytellers.
So much so that we follow their lead when they call themselves American and lay claim to all America – when ‘American’ and ‘America’ could refer to any of the people of two continents. Yet the people of the United States of America, as opposed to, say, the un-United States of America, claim these beautiful words for themselves.