Reconnecting with My Past Helps Me Value the Present

Giles Lyon
Giles Lyon

I'm in Texas this week on my Splitopia book tour.  Last week, I did two events in Houston.  It was great to be back in Houston.  My first-ever boss, Bob Stevenson from KUHF-FM radio, hosted the Q&A after my reading at Brazos Bookstore on Thursday night. Professor Chris Brunt of the University of Houston Honors College hosted a talk about the literature of crisis, and Splitopia, in the afternoon.  I met Chris when he was a freshman.  I was in my 30s and had offered to be a virtual mentor for an incoming college student, and Chris was assigned to me.  We began a weekly email correspondence that blossomed into a friendship.  It was amazing, years later, to sit in on a class he is teaching at that same university.

Houston has such a great literary culture and visual arts scene, which surprises some people.  My Houston-era boyfriend, artist Giles Lyon, has work up at McClain Gallery in Houston.

Now I'm in Austin, where I'm visiting my family.  I also did a podcast with Valerie Nies and Regina Soto, the smart and funny women behind Help Wanted, and talked about getting along well with an ex, after marriage, on Fox 7.  

Fox 7 Austin
Fox 7 Austin

Being in Texas is a wonderful opportunity to check in with my past.  In Houston, I went to some of my favorite restaurants and cafes, including Van Loc and Croissant Brioche and Epicure—all of which are still there.  In the little French bistro Croissant Brioche, the smokey, French roast coffee aroma that has permeated the room for 20 years brought back memories of college, and my early years of trying to be a writer.  Reconnecting with places and people from our past can help us remember who are, and even how far we've come, which is one reason I recommend NOT cutting off all contact with a former spouse, if you can help it.

* A version of this post originally appeared on Wendy Paris's website, wendyparis.com.

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Wendy Paris is the author of Splitopia: Dispatches from Today's Good Divorce and How to Part Well (Simon & Schuster/Atria, 2016). Splitopia and her work on divorce have been covered by The New York Times, Real Simple, The Washington Post, The New York Post, The Globe & Mail, Psychology Today, The Houston Chronicle, Salon.com, Parents.com, Family Law Quarterly, PsychCentral.com and radio and TV shows nationwide. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and is an advocate for family law reform. She is divorced, and lives in Santa Monica, California, a few blocks from her former husband, with whom she has a warm co-parenting relationship.