Out & About

Finding a clear vision for Macon’s identity


Macon’s ever-changing identity is always a fascinating cycle to watch. The best and most frustrating part about it sometimes is that the rest of the world has no idea that it’s happening.

It’s good because we get to try out things and no one steals our new ideas. It’s bad because we’re still looking at the rest of the world like they have it figured out more than we do. I looked up some “reinvent yourself” quotes to help my argument here, but I don’t trust the Internet on its fact-checking anymore. (I’m sure Marilyn Monroe was great, but come on, now.)

When I got here in 2008, Macon was in ruins with small pockets of gems here and there. As the years of peaks and valleys continued, we started to believe a little more that we were a music town. The success of my song “Cherry Street” and Jubee & the Morning After’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” performance had everyone buzzing about Macon being back on the map.

As these dreams — or the attention span on the realistic time frame — wore off, our current wave of how we wanted Macon to look crept in. We wanted to celebrate our roots while planting new things around them.

As this happened — and with the emergence of reality TV — we slowly became foodies. This made sense to me: Why have all these cool-looking places, and we’re ordering Little Caesars, right? Our restaurant scene has become something to really be proud of (thanks, Moonhanger).

From there, I started to get lost in the transitions and purpose of certain moves. We became extremely obsessed with appearing to have the same appeal of a business district. In order for people to want to come here, we have to look like “this.” In between changing our look, we started to jump back and forth through previous transitions. One week, we’re a music town that likes food. The next week, we’re beer connoisseurs at fancy dinner parties.

My intention in this observation isn’t to sound bitter or disconnected. However, as someone who is at most times extremely plugged into the city, I’m standing there thinking, “Wait, what did I miss?”

I was looking up “reinvent yourself” quotes to remind myself of what I already know as an artist. Sometimes you have to do so and there’s nothing wrong with doing it. You also don’t want to have too many slashes of occupations on your business card.

When it’s our turn to introduce ourselves, we should be able to say, “Hi, I’m Macon and I do this.” The rest we can leave for conversation.

Floco Torres is an artist/songwriter. Contact him at flocotorres@gmail.com.