the call to place: nashville, tennessee

Most people go to Nashville for the music.  That wasn’t my enticement, as I never cared much for country music.  Frankly, I’ve always been a bit dismissive of it. I do enjoy the country/rock blend songs such as those by Old Crow Medicine Show and Alabama Shakes.  And admittedly, I fell in love with Johnny Cash’s song, Hurt, a cover of an original song by Nine Inch Nails, back in 2007.  For a period, I listened to it repeatedly, as I do when I fall in love with a song.  I figured if I ever went to Nashville, I’d have to pay tribute to Johnny at his namesake museum.


The Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville

My roundabout call to Nashville came by way of books set in far-flung places, nowhere near the city of music.  These stories told of: an opera singer and terrorists in an unnamed South American country; pharmaceutical company doctors journeying into the Amazon; two writers and their lifelong friendship; unwed mothers in a home in Kentucky; and a husband and wife taking a road trip in a Winnebago to the Badlands, South Dakota.

These tales are told by Ann Patchett, who moved to Nashville when she was six and lives there to this day.  I read her books: Bel Canto in 2013, and, shortly after, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, a book of essays about the writing life, her marriage, and her love of her dog, her grandmother and the nun who taught her reading and writing in elementary school. As an unpublished writer myself, I enjoyed reading of her struggles and successes with writing, and her admonishment that there’s no such thing as writer’s block, only procrastination! She holds strong convictions about writing, family, friends, books, and her independent bookstore, Parnassus Books, billed as “An Independent Bookstore for Independent People.” Someday, I simply had to visit her bookstore in Nashville (and maybe get to meet her!).


Inside Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN

Later, I read more of Patchett’s books, The Patron Saint of Liars in early 2014, State of Wonder in 2016, and Truth and Beauty , about her friendship with the late Lucy Grealy, in 2017. Though the novels don’t take place in Nashville, the two non-fiction books reveal her ties to and love of the city.

The thing that clinched the deal for me was watching Big Little Lies, with Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, both of whom live in Nashville.  Enthralled, I watched the entire series, actually set in Monterey, California, on a plane flight to Hungary.  Nicole Kidman appeared on the CBS Sunday Morning show, talking about her life in Nashville with her husband, country singer Keith Urban. Later, I watched as both actresses made the rounds on the late night shows.  That was it. I was hooked.  I simply had to go to Nashville.

Talking my husband into taking off work for five days, two of which would be spent driving 10 hours through two states, Virginia and Tennessee, was no easy feat. Lucky for me, he eventually came around after getting caught up in my enthusiasm.

I’m always excited for a road trip. 🙂


“THE CALL TO PLACE” INVITATION: I invite you to write a 500-word (or less) post on your own blog about what enticed you to choose a recently visited or a future particular destination. If you don’t have a blog, I invite you to write in the comments.  If your destination is a place you love and keep returning to, feel free to write about that.  This time, you have two weeks! If you want to see the original post about the subject, you can check it out here: imaginings: the call to place.

Please include the link in the comments below by Wednesday, April 11 at 1:00 p.m. EST.  When I write my post in response to this challenge on Thursday, April 12, I’ll include your links in that post. If you’d like, you can use the hashtag #wanderessence.

My next post will be about Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

This will be an ongoing invitation, bi-weekly in April, and monthly (on the 4th Thursday of each month) after that. Feel free to jump in at any time. 🙂

I hope you’ll join in our community. I look forward to reading your posts!


the ~ wander.essence ~ community

I invite you all to settle in and read a few posts from our wandering community.  I promise, you’ll be inspired!

  • Shiarrael, of Tales from the Romulan Neutral Zone, shares about her family road trip in Austria, and the clever banter between her and her teenage children.  We can all relate.  Be prepared to enjoy a few laughs. 🙂
  • Pam, of Roughwighting, writes about her experience with her mother on the Jersey Shore and why she is called to return year after year.  I love her poignant and amusing experience.
  • Sue, of WordsVisual, writes a reminiscent post about her call to the coast in Sidmouth, Devon, South West England. She writes about her experience, accompanied by a poem and photo.
  • Jo, of Restless Jo, writes of her love affair with Tavira, Portugal, soon to become her permanent home.  Having visited her there, I know firsthand of her enthusiasm for Tavira, but I love how she’s written so beautifully of her memories and of all the things that bring her joy about that place.

Thanks to all of you who wrote posts about a call to place. 🙂