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“Philosophical Roots of Outer Bohemia," a chapter from Left of the Loop," a novel by Tim W. Brown

“Philosophical Roots of Outer Bohemia," a chapter from Left of the Loop," a novel by Tim W. Brown

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Published by Tim W. Brown
“Philosophical Roots of Outer Bohemia," a chapter from Left of the Loop, a novel by Tim W. Brown, published in 2001. Originally appeared in the Fall 1992 issue of American Goat.
“Philosophical Roots of Outer Bohemia," a chapter from Left of the Loop, a novel by Tim W. Brown, published in 2001. Originally appeared in the Fall 1992 issue of American Goat.

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Published by: Tim W. Brown on Aug 13, 2009
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08/12/2009

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From
 Left of the Loop
, a NovelBy Tim W. Brown
Set in the mid 1980s,
 Left of the Loop
chronicles the misadventures of two roommatesliving in a decrepit loft building just west of Chicago’s famed Loop. Narrating the story isSpungkdt, a poet who uses the raw material of the surrounding meatpacking district togive his writing verve. His roommate Stark is drummer for a hapless rock and roll band pursuing ever-elusive success. Contemporary pioneers, they confront the ugly sights, rudesounds and foul smells of the urban frontier.With dark humor and biting wit, author Tim W. Brown smashes the popular myth that the1980s were all about BMWs, cocaine and junk bonds for most young people, and hecaptures the essence of an historic neighborhood that has long since lost its soul togentrification.
 
Philosophical Roots of Outer BohemiaA Chapter from
 Left of the Loop
, a NovelBy Tim W. BrownA rawboned loft stuck in the heart of the Near West Side just north of Skid Rowalong Madison Street, a part of town that had seen better (and worse) days, our home wasforty-eight hundred square feet of space which Stark and I constantly reshaped accordingto the dictates of our imaginations. The neighborhood was, without rhyme or reason,where we landed, a place whose amenities our eyes had to carve from cavernouswarehouses, vacant lots, abandoned railroad spurs and cobblestone streets turned up byweeds. While our eyes transformed the cityscape, our insides transformed as well; wecreated a mental landscape and we invented ourselves thereby.Who I am, or who I invented myself as, owes a lot to living left of the Loop. Onetheory I have is that my behavior while living there was, well, childlike. (Most peoplewould probably call it childish.) In my defense against all so-called adults in the world, Iwill quote Wordsworth, who wrote, “The Child is Father of the man.” Looked at his way,you could say that I was continuing my boyhood days by camping out on SangamonStreet.When I was nine or ten, I used to gather with various friends at a train crossingroughly halfway between the two fairly close villages where we all lived. We rode our Schwinn Sting Rays up blacktop roads to this spot, which was along the Burlington Northern line. East was Chicago; west eventually took you to Denver. About a half-miledown the tracks there was a trestle that spanned Blackberry Creek.Heading toward this trestle, we tiptoed on the rails pretending we walked atightrope; if we lost our balance, we let out the appropriate trailing-off scream of a manfalling to his death, just like we heard on TV. Underneath the trestle we bombed pop canswith rocks, trying to sink them before the brown current of the creek carried them off.When we felt especially daredevilish, we would sidestep across the trestle, feet on a sidegirder holding the structure up, hands gripping the ties just inches from the rails.The danger this stunt involved was two-fold: first, in case a train came along, youcouldn’t go anywhere but down into the water twenty-five feet below; second, danger could arise later if you survived creeping across the trestle, but your dad spotted creosote
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