When I find something that makes me want to write, it’s the same feeling as it is to fall in love.
In fact, I think it is falling in love in a way. Maybe even in my favorite way of all.
I’ve fallen deeply and madly in love with the city of Detroit in the past few months. Right under my nose for all of these years and I’ve only just begun to see it for what it really is.
Isn’t that how it always happens?
I can’t pinpoint what it is about that place that has inspired me so completely, but it has. I wake up thinking about it. I find myself staring off into space in the middle of the afternoon daydreaming about it. I can’t wait for the next time we see each other, and I think that the possibilities of what we can accomplish together are endless.
I’ve got it bad.
Detroit doesn’t give a shit about being shiny and perfect and putting on a show. It keeps it real. It has soul and culture and people that don’t blow smoke up your ass. They are authentic and want only to be what they are. Don’t go there to experience perfection. Go there to experience life.
For decades Detroit lay forgotten, shrouded in crime and corruption and was written off as a “lost cause” by most people. By myself included. I wouldn’t have considered taking my family there to spend a day exploring what there was to offer. Because I didn’t think it had much to offer. I wouldn’t have thought I would feel happy and comfortable parking my car to walk the streets alone.
It’s not that place anymore. Maybe it never was. I have been wrong once or twice before.
Detroit went through hell but it didn’t give up. It didn’t let people like me, who gave up on it, determine it’s fate. Other, forward-thinking people still believed in it. They weathered the storm and were there waiting to create change when the opportunity finally arrived.
They knew better. They knew Detroit was a fighter that would rise from the ash. And they were right.
Today when you are in Detroit you see something remarkable. It’s this extraordinary “thing,” that has inspired me so deeply. You see humanity at work for the better. People shoulder to shoulder, doing incredible things to change a city that had been forgotten. You can’t turn your head without seeing evidence of their efforts. Their accomplishments are all around.
The type of person that does this, that so bravely and creatively takes risks where other people won’t…. this is the type of person that will change the world. And these exact people are everywhere in Detroit. They think innovatively and fully invest themselves in making positive change happen every. single. day.
The energy is exciting. It’s contagious. What they’re doing is working. And if you look closely and with a mind that’s wide open, you’ll see that what’s happening even goes far deeper than new restaurants, better shopping, trendy millennials, and widespread construction efforts. Sure, those things are there, but there is so much more.
There is great, collaborative human effort of a scale that you don’t often get the chance to see. There is community, creativity and a shared, widespread commitment to a cause. A peaceful, worthwhile cause to simply make something better than it was when they found it. To leave a place better off than it was before.
That’s an incredible thing.
Go to Detroit. See for yourself. Don’t miss the chance to be part of something beautiful.