I came across this video via the blog “I Will Shout Youngstown” this afternoon, and thought it was really representative of the spirit that’s been taking over Youngstown in the past couple of years, and that community spirit seems to be growing more and more over time now. To be completely honest, it feels strange to feel this good about my community. I grew up when it was spiraling ever downward in its history, so there was a constant feeling of entropy surrounding the place, that the world was closing down around me, that things got worse, not better. Somehow I turned out to be a creative person in the midst of a sort of ambient atmosphere of disintegration, or maybe I turned out to be a creative person *because* of that atmosphere, as a sort of rebellion against it. But anyway, all of these good things happening here now, even though I feel like I’m a part of those things in my own small way, it still does, sometimes, feel strange to feel that Youngstown has begun to turn in a different direction, and maybe decay and disintegration won’t be the predominant trend in these parts forever. It makes me wonder, too, how that will affect the way I write about this place in the future, because I’m largely inspired by place in my writing. Not just this place, but any place where I’ve spent a significant amount of time. That will probably be more evident when my second novel comes out. So it makes me wonder if at some point all the ghost stories and stories of entropy and madness and melancholy that I seem to gravitate to in regards to this place will begin to disappear. It makes me wonder what sort of stories will come in their stead. I look forward to finding that out, but for now, check out this video put out by the American Planning Association, which awarded Youngstown with the 2007 National Planning Excellence Award for Public Outreach. Maybe it’s a bore for people living elsewhere, I don’t know, but the new progressive spirit of this place that’s been happening here lately has been engaging for me, and interesting, as I notice my own relationship to the place begin to shift into a new shape.