I recently discovered your paper and fell in love. Thank you for a truly informative and entertaining piece of media. I love it!
Although I write this lovely compliment, I have to say that I am writing to respond to a [commentary] by H. Byron Ballard [“Bewitched: Baba Yaga in the Sacred Landscape,” April 2]. As I’m drinking in the Xpress, I continue to read a piece I’m sure will be talking about the dastardly high-rise. I, too, am opposed to such degradation of our beloved city, so I’m interested to read the article.
Then I read: “We’re insufferable that way—what must the newcomers think, those people who have no roots and don’t care to have any.” I am incensed, livid, exasperated and even heartbroken. As a newcomer (moved here last year), I take great offense to such a comment. Just who does she think she is—a Native American (the only true natives of the place)? Does she think people need to stay in the place where they’re born, and if they don’t, they are unrespectable morons? Do newcomers exist who blunder things up? Sure they do, but so do so-called natives.
We’re all people here, and just because we weren’t born in this place doesn’t mean we don’t deeply, deeply care for it. I love Asheville more than any land I’ve ever known. It may even be a newcomer who helps save it, so don’t you dare belittle a whole group of people who want to love, enjoy and care for Asheville. Be a little open-minded, Ms. Ballard, and see that just because my mother wasn’t here when she gave birth to me doesn’t make me less of a person, and doesn’t mean I can’t contribute to this city, and doesn’t mean I’m not interested in my roots.
— Janet Salonius
Author Byron Ballard responds: If all it takes is an 800-word essay to bring this person to “incensed, livid, exasperated and heartbroken,” she might want to pay a little more attention to the wholesale destruction of the natural world, the crashing economy and the endless war in Iraq—and a little less attention to an essay in a weekly newspaper. If roots are important, make a commitment to stay here, work for the betterment of the community you call home and put some down. As for who I think I am—I’m a woman whose family has been here for a long, long time.