The Star City, Through Newcomer’s Eyes: An Introduction


I’ll tell you something I don’t always talk about much:

There was a time when I really, *really* didn’t want to live here.

Two years ago — right around this time of year, when the air first nips of cold — I moved through our city feeling constricted and claustrophobic, like I was shambling around in a pair of shoes two sizes too small.  I was alone in ways that most people don’t like to admit.

So I decided to change it.

Long before Star City Slicker was ever a spark in my imagination, I started a little blog dedicated to building intentional gratitude for this place.  I took forty days and posted once a day about something — any something! — that I loved about Roanoke, Virginia.

And honestly?  That project changed me.

I got out, met people, and pushed myself to try new things.

I hiked.

I ate.

I drank.

I said hello to some very interesting characters.

I aimed my beat-up Canon Rebel at my city, trying to see it anew… And  then I went home every night and wrote about it.


And one day I woke up and realized … I was Home.



Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about those forty days, when the leaves were just beginning to turn and my heart was just beginning to open to Roanoke.  And the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve felt compelled to share my posts from that time with you.

So here’s what’s going to happen at Star City Slicker over the next month.

Between now and mid-October, I’m going to take Mondays and Tuesdays and share a selection of meditations from that time.  I think it’ll give you a glimpse into the way a newcomer processes this place, and maybe push you to help make our community even stronger … and more welcoming.

I’ll admit, it takes some courage to let you into these memories — this was a lonely time for me, and it shows in my writing.

But I think it’s worth it, if only a few readers go out, love on their city a little bit, and invite some other folks to do the same.

I’ll begin tomorrow, and at the end of each post, I’ll share a few easy ways you might help build a sense of community in the Star City.

See you soon!

–Ashley ❤