24th #AllAmerican Portrait: Nicolas

First name: Nicolas

What does it mean to be American?

Being American involves the suspension of disbelief, a dream state of hopes.

What makes America great? 

America, the great, is the dream I had of it in Africa, the place I visited in a hypnagogic fog over summers when we came back to Indiana, a brief blurry waking before we returned back to blissful sleep of Africa. In America, we’d lay in thatched blue fescue and stare at white anvils of clouds and there’d be no dust or din. Where there could not only be TV on at all times, but electricity to power the TV set and where the water wouldn’t be turned off in the middle of a shower. Where the grocery stores would have giant meaty chickens, gallons of milk as big as cannon balls and glittering fruit and vegetables strewn about like a pirate’s hoard. Processed foods. Where the top soil would be as thick as a man is tall, and a shovel would sink in it as easily as the crops would grow out of it. Where fireflies used to rise like stars from the cool forests of grass, and dragonflies would hover, cicadas would leave their shells tacked to the elms in the dooryard, and the carpenter bees would bump into you like they forgot their glasses. Where my bike would be left strewn in the driveway and a football, aimed at fall, spiraling, would arc toward something better.



Occupation: Musician and teacher

What is your race/ethnicity? White

What is your sexual identification: Straight

Where did you grow up? West Africa

Do you claim a religion? Lutheranism, music, and good books

Do you identify as a wife, husband, mother, father, homeschooler, etc.? Father, husband, primary caregiver

Do you identify any particular interests such as hiking, reading, biking, etc.? Cycling, music, wine, food

Learn more about Nicolas’ work:


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