If you think you know Knoxville, you're probably wrong. If you don't know it at all, well, join the club.
I came to Knoxville seven years ago. I intended a brief stay, two or three years, a stop-off on the way to something else. When people ask, I still say I'm going to leave sometime. I've just stopped saying when.
It's a common syndrome. People grow up here or move here from wherever (I have friends from the Midwest, the Yankee North, Florida, the Pacific Northwest, New Mexico by way of L.A.), and most of them mean to leave at some point. Sometimes they do, but even then they have a way of resurfacing periodically at a bar or coffee shop or video store. They usually have stories about where they've been, but what they really want to know is: how's Knoxville? They ask the question the way you ask about an ailing aunt, with concern and affection, and maybe a little despairbut also with the suspicion that if you catch her on the right day you'll find her dancing around the living room with a traveling salesman.
So for those who are new here, or just passing through, or rooted for good, we offer this Annual Manual. We'd like to say it's a comprehensive guide to everything you could possibly want or need to know about Knoxville, but we'd be lying. An honest, complete index of this city would require thousands of pages and some spools of film and reels of audio tape, along with dozens of take-out containers and a decade or two (or five or six) of things seen and experienced and puzzled over. This is none of that. It's mostly made up of listsplaces to go when you're bored or hungry or sick and tired, people to contact when you're curious or angry or confused. A reference guide, that's all.
But if you can fill in the spaces between the lines, if you can see it as an equation of sorts and add up and multiply the parks and greenways and restaurants and theaters and clubs and radio stations and schools and hospitals and shops, you'll get something more: the abstract of a city, the clumsy outline of a place we've made home.
Welcome to Knoxville.
Even if you've been here all your life.
Jesse Fox Mayshark
Editor, Metro Pulse