The Serene Realm of Bravograndia was born of pride and sadness. Its nationhood, and the love of its citizenry, is rooted in the blend of peoples and habitats, each necessary, inextricable, that gave rise, among others, to me. The sadness that called it to being is the sadness of a lover of people, a lover of creatures, of plants, a lover of all their communities and the community of which they are all parts, a lover’s lover mired in a society that has discarded or suppressed ideals that alone can redeem it.
Bravograndia thrives as a mental refuge, a redoubt of hopes and dreams unassailable by the polities that claim its landscapes. Its foundation is rooted in those landscapes, the life that inhabits them, and all the nations of the Bravograndian expanse. It is to Bravograndia that I belong. Homeland of my spirit and aspirations, it overlays, or perhaps interpenetrates, the territorial pretensions of imaginary (if heavily armed) republics.
Long before I could put a name to the Serene Realm, it called forth my loyalty. I was born in the imaginary nation of the United States, in the imaginary State of Texas, in the City of Houston, second child and second son of Donald and Rose, residents of the City of La Porte. Precocious, I understood from an early age that actual values shaping the world had little to do with values publicly expressed, and that if the latter were hollow, the former were horseshit. For better or worse, it was the hollow word that resonated within me. Despite the pressure of market and peers, I was inoculated with language meant to mouth but not hear. Unable not to hear, I made that language song and the song a ruler by which to measure the frontiers of emergent Bravograndia.
Traced on a map, the Serene Realm centers on the great watershed of the river known on one bank as the Rio Bravo and on the other as the Rio Grande. Its southern edge follows the Rio Panuco from mouth to source; its western border is the continental divide. The most northerly point of the Bravograndian expanse is somewhere on slopes in imaginary Colorado that drain to the source of its namesake river. More generally, its northern border follows Palo Duro Creek to the Prairie Dog Town Fork and east along the Red River proper until, in the vicinity of Highway 910, in the imaginary State of Louisiana, it jumps to the Mississippi. The border jumps again to include the entire north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, grading finally into disputed lands east of Picayune, in the imaginary State of Mississippi. To the southeast, it is washed by the Gulf of Mexico. An epiphenomenal nation hidden in plain sight, these are the conceptual and material frontiers within which I formed.
The Serene Realm of Bravograndia is a parliamentary anarchy with no head of government and no head of state. Recent efforts to tally indicate that either thirty-six or forty-two parties currently hold seats in its single Chamber of Soliloquies. The count is complicated by the fact that I hold the proxy for every constituency, and some days distinctions between camps can be drawn more readily than others. Some allow for no distinctions at all. There are days replete with diplomatic missions to meadows and clouds, to lunatics and dreamers, and to numberless invisible worlds, upon which I, as Solitary and Unique Minister Plenipotentiary of the Serene Realm, am pledged to attend. Even those days, however, prove no inconvenience to tourist or immigrant. Bravograndia requires neither visa nor passport, no record of immunizations, no special currency, no minimum purchase. At any hour, from any point, travel with good will and generous spirit to the edge of what is taken for granted. With no backward glance, turn sharply into “What if…?” Greetings and welcome to you who lift your sights, clear your mind, and wish.
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