What is it that draws so many of us to the Ocean State and keeps us here, even when opportunities elsewhere beckon? In a word, community. Somehow Rhode Island’s intimate and quirky scale, its mix of neighborhood and neighborhood characters – even with their sometimes rough edges – manage to pull us in and get ahold of us, a bit like flypaper. For so many of us, Rhode Island’s complex richness seeps into our bones and, even with all its challenges, becomes part of who we are. And that’s just what we hear from Karen Lee Ziner.
Karen Lee Ziner has lived in Providence since 1980. A former fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, she is writing a collection of stories for a yet-unpublished book on her West End neighborhood. Ziner is a staff writer for The Providence Journal. A version of this essay previously appeared in the Providence Sunday Journal.