Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday Top Ten: You Pack Your Bags You Say I Love You But I Cannot Stay [City Girl: The Sequel]

So! Here we are in the clear -- that promised no-L Word land where Sunday Top Tens drop on Sundays ('cause of the Lord, obvs) and other blog posts appear more frequently. Yet I've spent four days attempting to write a fantastic mind-blowing blog post to initiate this new era, and now it's Sunday, and this is what I've accomplished: about two solid hours of staring at the wall, ten separate and equally unfruitful attempts to begin cleaning my room, twenty re-applications of eyeliner and/or blush (v. important when sitting alone at one's desk all day), approximately 300 check-ups on the youtube uhhatsxsw group boards, twentysomething sitemeter checks and subsequent track-downs of referring forum message posts, about two solid hours of staring at the floor, maybe 20 emails max, serious analysis of my hamstring/glute/cellulite development (and subsequent thoughts about my possible insanity), 60 changes from sweatpants to jeans and back again, massive french fry/cheeseburger/chicken fingers/eggs consumption, the installation of my new printer software and! This sentence! -- written (I believe) almost entirely in the passive voice (big no-no).

'Cause I think I've gotten to that point ... the point where when you take "all potential material" and then subtract "material I've already blogged about," "material I'm using in my book" and "material I can't talk about" ... you get ... um. Not a whole lot left to say. Let's say this is a sequel to this.

I keep ditching blogs after a few hours of work on them, which's exhausting. So I'm gonna go ahead with this one, despite urges to delete it and start over. This blog has no cohesive thought pattern. It's mostly a memoir, and it goes from nowhere to nowhere by claiming to be about somewhere. Next week I'm gonna use one of your topics.
*
Here's the idea; I'm doing a reading on April 17th at Happy Endings -- I'll be reading, with Stephanie Whited, "Fucking Around" (the original -- I did a "Fucking Around 2: Local Edition" for the reading in September), which appears in the new book Dirty Girls: Erotica for Women. Are you COMING TO THE READING? Buying the book?!!! If you don't, I'm never talking to you again. Put it on your calender STAT.

So when I re-visited the story -- which personifies cities -- before sending it to Stephanie, and also when I was doing the interview, I was thinking about Place. Travel. And so on ... 'cause I've been a little jetsetter in '08 ... and, I'm looking for good travel essays to read, do you know of any good travel writers? Gimme some leads ... I'm trying to figure out a good angle for a piece about an upcoming trip and I don't know where to begin.

Usually too much traveling stresses me out (see; last year in which I didn't even board an airplane). But during my Agoraphobic Zen Meditation Gestation Period last fall, I became a monk with no attachment to this home and therefore I'm freewheelin'.

At the same time ... Haviland's gonna stay in L.A. for a few more months; she loves it. When I met Carly she was aiming to relocate to L.A. within a year -- instead, she's moving into her first Manhattan apartment this week. A;ex and Natalie are both looking for more permanent Manhattan residences. After many months away, Heather's back in the city, stage managing on Broadway.

And for the first time since moving here four years ago; I'm taking a serious break -- I'll be out of the city for most of the next two months. I will return like The Shining.
*
"New York fucks me. New York fucks me so hard that I cry."

*
I'm thinking about why I'm still here, and where else I've been. I'm thinking if I could be anywhere else, and if so when and how. I'm thinking about my friends settling in here or moving, and about every landscape I've resided in besides New York -- places I know not by choice but by circumstance -- and how different it feels to be where we want to be instead of where we've been born, or schooled. I'm wondering when my number one attachment to the city stopped being the city itself and started being the people living here.
*
"Here I arrive there."
(Galway Kinnel, "The Road Between Here and There.")
*
Me
: I told New York I was going to start seeing other places.
New York: You'll come back.
*
SUNDAY TOP TEN: WHERE I'M CALLING FROM
*
10. Presently: New York
As a girl; I believed everyone -- literally, everyone -- wanted to live in New York.

It seemed inherently better; brighter lights, bolder songs, deeper & more dramatic love affairs, loftier careers, sharper children, more dramatic art. I didn't think everyone would move there -- or even try to -- only that it was, like a tropical beach w/palm tree or Prince(ss) Charming -- something most everyone enjoyed dreaming of.

I grew up and realized that wasn't true ... but still I cannot, to this day, recall how I even got the idea that I wanted to live here, it's just always been that way. Was it someone else's idea, related to wanting to be an actress, or to the Muppets or YA novels? Does anyone remember? Do you?

I envy those with roots and inertia, those who've been someplace and stayed, or stayed close, who haven't needed to get away and reinvent and leave leave leave leave all the time, or move someplace where you can initiate a do-over without switching cities.

December 2003, Michigan, out for drinks with MacGrill friends & talking about the city to a coworker who told me she'd always wanted to visit NYC, that she envied my plans to move there ... She'd been living in the same small town in Michigan all her life, she said, and hadn't ever given much thought to leaving. I asked why, she said, "Well, I just can't imagine going anywhere else, this is where my family is," and then I thought, maybe that's the thing that separates people who move to cities from those that don't. We, for whatever reason, don't feel tethered to our family or community. There's nothing keeping us where we started from, or there's something even stronger than that (I'm thinking now of specific dreams) pulling us away.

9. Recently

Los Angeles
Over the past few months I've spent time in Miami, Orlando, Los Angeles and Austin, and though I found the weather more pleasant everywhere else, and Austin's scored vibe is probs healthier than NYC's chaotic reverb ... still, this city's made me a masochist to feel worthy of its streets, trains, secrets ... and I don't know if I could ever find a relationship this intense anywhere else. Nevertheless, I didn't want to come home when I was gone, but I think that's 'cause vaycay's always more fun than actual life, even if you live in New York.

Specifically, Miami and Los Angeles -- while super-fun to visit -- felt like skating a shiny expensive surface, flexibility relative to muscle, and everyone smiling about it, like obeying a different kind of ethos, like a sports car or a smile from a cashier or like songs about music. The sky/landscape is beautiful in those places but ... I prefer regions beneath surface: things you've burned and why, when and how you let go of pride, who you wish had never seen you cry, but did, what makes you wet, what's the first thing you do after leaving your office that you can't do while you're inside it.

Miami was one of the highlights of my year, but I knew I could never live there after that terrible season of The Real World.

Orlando
If you're a non-native New York resident who's involved in the arts, you have an implicated relationship to Los Angeles because we choose to live here, not there. But also; I know its representations better than it's actuality. The cycle of beach-going, expensive clothes shopping, and romantic drama typified in Beverly Hills 90210, The O.C. and South of Nowhere. Six Feet Under is set in L.A., but I always forgot that it was -- sometimes it felt like it could be any reasonably large city. The L Word, obvs, in West Hollywood.

Austin:
will do in a pinch. Is flat and hot and relentlessly wide-open and soothing like a third drink. Reminds me of other places I could imagine raising a family: Berkley, Madison, Boulder, Ann Arbor, Burlington, Athens, Brooklyn. Seems it would be pleasant but it's in Texas, I'm not a Southern girl, I hate the heat. Also ... Austin doesn't humble me and make me want to give up every day -- like New York does -- which is how I check myself to see how bad I still want it.
8. Ann Arbor, MI (81-90) (92-97)/(00-01)(01-04)
"Beware of saying to them that sometimes different cities follow one another on the same site and under the same name, born and dying without knowing one another, without communication amongst themselves. At times even the names of the inhabitants remain the same, and their voice's accent, and also the features of the faces; but the gods who live beneath names and above places have gone off without a word and outsiders have settled in their place."
-Italo Calvino, "Cities & Memory 5," Invisible Cities
*

The house I grew up in 'til 1994
I've lived so many lives there (divided neatly by unexpected tragedy), the town's almost amorphous to me. Most just know the University of Michigan. I'm always qualifying when I speak of my roots -- not that Midwest, you know, it's Ann Arbor. It's a college town. Not a suburb, really, no ... but no gun racks either. And going to University there; that was another town, too. I watched Sex and The City DVDs and waited to return. Ann Arbor wants you to like it, just the way it is, and however it may become.
*
7. Ypsilanti, MI ('02)

Never had a chance with me. Is sprawl, is grey, feels sad or disappointed sometimes. In middle school, we'd played East and West, Ypsilanti's public schools, in basketball -- all black girls, infinitely better than us, and one girl named Star who habitually fouled out even sooner than me, and once elbowed me in the eye.

A decade later, when I started working at the MacGrill (while at U of M) out by the US-23 exit, I started hanging out with kids who lived there, mostly Eastern Michigan students, and eventually ended up living there w/my annoying boyfriend.

A few blocks down from our wall-to-wall cream-carpeted home (in its mind-numbing housing development) was a strip mall featuring Wal-Mart AND Big Lots, and this is what I did when feeling empty: bargain hunt. Such satisfaction. Driving, picking up Subway sandwiches, taking Oscar outside, grocery shopping, commuting, getting the mail, getting yelled at. People in Ypsilanti were always saying they'd get a raise soon, were never paid what they needed, or already need.

Ypsi's not sure who it wants to be -- a hip downtown but also rows and rows of sprawling strip malls on all sides with stores like Honeybaked Ham, Ace Hardware, Burlington Coat Factory. Then there's campus and the world-famous Penis Tower, historic Depot Town. There's where I was elbowed in the eye.
It's hard to have an affair in Ypsilanti, but I did, so maybe it wasn't. There's an abandoned paper mill and a body of water, we could sit there and kiss. We told each other all our secrets while the sun set. Then I could drive him home, and then go home to my mean boyfriend, make dinner, clean, stand wistfully on the tiny balcony littered with Oscar's abandoned stuffed paramours he'd humped to death, look at the tiny yard we'd selected. That little yard, and the trees behind it ... felt pathetic. My co-hab wouldn't leave me, so I left him. I felt he'd almost fooled me into giving up New York for the suburbs, I felt like I'd been hypnotized.

Leaving him felt a lot like being elbowed in the eye. But no: that was just his knuckles, our cheap white walls.
*
6. Bronxville, NY (Sarah Lawrence College) (Fall '99)
It's all hills, and then the wind like a long flat slap in the face. I was acutely sad there and so I remember the village like that too (but moreso: like the pamphlets sent by SLC) ... tired, hungry (for many things including food) -- but neatly dressed, well organized, by all appearances functional ... the scent of chlorine upon my skin. Bronxville is aggressively quaint. I wished I was in the city, hated the past for being past, hated myself and my shin splints, my overpriced education, coming back on weekends. Many of my friends stayed in their dorms 24-7, eating Rice-a-Roni in bed & watching Radiohead videos, but I explored -- running in the mornings, studying in town at night, and all the walks from the Metro-North. It was beautiful, Bronxville, but while I was there I wasn't in the habit of paying attention to beauty.
*
5. Interlochen, MI (97-99)

"My present world was always, in its mildness, a little disappointing. I've never since Ault been in a place where everyone wants the same things; minus a universal currency, it's not always clear to me what I myself want. And anyway, no one's watching to see whether or not you get what you're after -- if at Ault I'd felt mostly unnoticed, I'd also, at certain moments, felt scrutinized. After Ault, I was unaccounted for."
(Curtis Sittenfeld, Prep)
Is love. Or what I knew of it: The Academy. We paid attention to poetry and our desperately important selves. Isolation breeds delusions of grandeur, which is a good thing when applied to insecure & depressive teenagers. It was cold & wooded, but we never had to walk far and besides -- we were kids dreaming of NYC and L.A. But the secure fleeting woods are magical, like Hogwarts. It was by definition temporary. My New York dreams grew specific: I only applied to schools in NYC or the surrounding area. Everyone I knew would be there, or close. It was the only place to go.
*
4. Concord, MA (1990)
The Old North Bridge! The Alcott House! Walden Pond! Concord has enough past, it's not worried about the future. This town is America. People should visit Concord instead of NYC, they'd find America on the whole much more pleasant. I can't go back there. I think the first time I saw NY was passing through on our way here, the first time.
*
3. Champaign, IL (1981)
September, 1981, the father & mother bring their daughter home from the hospital. Because the mother & father are opposites, their daughter will grow up as opposites (but both sides firmly within her). Outside, the leaves are crispy red & gold and in the daytime, college students in bright orange sweatshirts walk past dutifully with books and at night, they stumble past, drunk and happy. The father reads out loud to his daughter from accounting text books, employing a exciting rise and lilt of the voice. And the daughter listens and believes it. Yes, stock analysis is a fairy tale! There'll be treasure at the end! The parents are in love first with the baby and by default (also from history's account), one another. They have routines by this point, yes? Familiar kisses, the familiar motions of everything. Like everything, if you say it right (and smiling), is that kind of fairy tale.
*
2. Chicago, IL
Mom grew up here and describes an adolescence spent on street corners; all red hair, all attitude and teenage rebel scoff, cigarette dangling from unimpressed hand. We'd go see family there, sometimes, it was a default location for vacations or runaway fantasies. Now, Chicago is the home of Ingrid, my ex-boyfriend, Oprah and NPR. When I visited my ex in Chicago in the summer of '05 while passing through, I emerged from the Amtrak station onto familiar streets and realized I've been here a million gazillion times, but I've never given it much thought.
*
1. East Clinton, Ohio
I romanticize the farm. I've set too many short stories in Wilmington or Sabina, exploited its heartland and the wholesome American lifestyle I imagined my family lived there (and my father had lived) until we grew up and everything fell apart. I know this place better than anywhere, have returned at least annually since birth, and write about it so much that people often get confused and think I'm from Ohio. I'm not I would've been entirely different. There were pictures like these, of my father's childhood, which he made mythical, just like I do to my own.

*

*

*

*
New York: I haven't slept in like, three days.
Me: Do you want to do this later, then?
New York: Why? No, of course not. What are we waiting for?
*

Friday night Carly was DJ'ing a party in the East Village at Beauty Bar so Alex and I pre-partied at Lucky Cheng's, "drag queen capital of the world," one of many New York attractions that neatly straddles terrible/AMAZING, which's the best way to be, because you're not too full of either. You can't hear yourself talk there 'cause the drag queens are yelling about giving fake blow jobs to bachelors and bridesmaids who're all drinking from gigantic tubs of fruity liquor. Our server reminded Alex of her alter ego, Chi Chi Rodriguez. It's like Disneyworld with drag queens instead of cartoon characters.
We even stayed at Beauty Bar after Carly left 'cause the next DJ was playing hot music too. That's right: I actually danced. "Danced." Surrounded by weirdos -- a sausage fest, some bitches, a few other homos -- but wtf, who cares, it's New York, a new layer on top of the old -- --

a birthday party there in 2000, with Sarah Lawrence friends, who I'd expected to hate now that I was living in the city but no -- out of context, I realized they were all quite lovely. It wasn't them after all, it was just Bronxville, and how I felt in Bronxville. The hulking, well-lipsticked drag queens petted and solicited and harassed, it was so gaudy, so disgusting, so tourist-oriented, so fucking beautiful.

The reason I'd gone to Manhattan in the first place in 2000 was because I needed to get over it so that I could handle going home for a more affordable education. I'd been dreaming of it since East Clinton, since before my Mom met my Dad, since before Chicago and Champaign, Concord, Ann Arbor, Ypsi, Bronxville, and before during and after those cities ... my twentysomething change-of-address forms.

But lately I've felt like claiming an allegiance for this city is like telling someone about a perverse sexual fetish, like it's fallen out of fashion (though it's always been popular to hate on).

But when I venture out of my hostile neighborhood and into the parts of the city that feel like the place I signed up for, I do still have moments of feeling like Belle in Beauty and the Beast ... like I might start hurling loaves of bread into the air ... like I've gone batshit on everyone and now I'm singing to birds landing on my fingertips.

"I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel ... and really didn't know who I was for ten strange seconds."
-Jack Kerouac
*
When I left New York after my first residency here, I was tired of the city and so I spent the summer on the West Coast -- Seattle, Vancouver, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Berkley. I returned to the city the next summer, then back to Michigan.

Over the next two months, I'll be spending more time away from here than I've done since moving here in 2004. I wonder how that's gonna feel.

My roots will stay here, and I don't know why really, maybe it's perverted or masochistic. But though I've spoken out against sunshine, I've never argued against perversion or masochism.

Never argued for anywhere else.
*
"Here I must turn around and go back and on the way back look carefully to left and to right. For here, the moment all the spaces along the road between here and there -- which the young know are infinite and all others know are not -- get used up, that's it."
-Galway Kinnell
*
"New York is three hours late to meet me, like she didn't even miss me. Her eyes are green rimmed with red. She looks sick and devastating and gorgeous. Her nails are perfect and glossy. Later, she will use them to trace the entire length of my spine with a spotted trail of blood, like I did to Los Angeles, but this time I will like it and it will remind me of hearts and love."
*


*

downtown nyc, nov.'05
*

23 comments:

Jaime said...

I sometimes wonder if I'd've questioned moving to NYC post-college if I didn't work in a NYC-centric industry. I mean, sure, I could've considered a job in regional theatre, but seriously. (I did apply for one job in Chicago last year. Which is the only job that would get me to leave NYC.) For me, family is here, ish. Mom and dad are each under an hour away, in opposite directions. I was born in Queens. My mom and both of her brothers lived in New York when they were in their 20s. And all but one of my friends moved here after college. (All theatre kids, plus one music kid.) I mean, what else is there to do?

Other than college (and Providence is not a city - that makes me laugh) I've always lived either in the city or in its suburbs, but always a place defined by NYC. I don't understand cities that aren't on islands - how do you know where they start and end?

dorothy said...

You are lovely.

NEP said...

Your productive Sunday made me feel even more guilty for sleeping in and then making half-hearted attempts at showering/grocery shopping/cleaning. Anyway, it is a bit intimidating leaving my first comment for all the world to see but I couldn't help feeling completely connected to this post. I just moved/ran away from my beloved New York (the only place I've ever lived besides Ann Arbor) following my own devastating, all-consuming Blue Period. In my heart, I know, I'll be back ... but for now NY is too full of memories and a past I can't shake. Like you, I always find myself trying to qualify where I grew up (LI) -- especially while at UM where the label was something I wore, like a scarlet letter, for all to see and judge.

I hope that China gives you a much needed respite from NY. Last year I felt the same restlessness, and compulsively ran away to Japan because for some reason I thought I wouldn't be so unhinged there. But, unsurprisingly, "crazy" translated just as easily in Japanese as it did in English.

flynn said...

Fuck Bronxville, it's all about Yonkers. And China seems crazy, I want to go.

dewey said...

I’ve lived in the same town, same house, for all my eighteen years, my parents having lived here for all of there lives too, I'm a born ‘n’ bread Farnborough girl. I’ve never been away for longer than a week. I slate the place all the time but I know if/when I move, Ill miss it, ill miss my street, ill miss walking routes that I could do blindfolded, I like familiarity.

But I dream of living elsewhere, many places are on my long, ever expanding list, London, Vancouver, New York, Newquay, Sheringham……

In September I will finally leave my hometown for Uni, here I come Bangor. I’m anxious as to what it will be like, how I cope with the unfamiliarity of it all. I wonder how long it will take to feel like home, I wonder if anywhere but here will ever feel like home.

I don't want to spend my life here, I don’t want to raise a family here, I don’t want to grow old here, but what if..... what if I can never leave the place behind, what if when I leave I leave my heart behind to?

China is immense, not on my list of places to visit but I hope you have an awesome time. I don’t think id like the food.

eric mathew said...

there is so much i want to write..but im ggoing to keep it pg.

a. i will miss you in china, but my gparents just were there and loved it so i know you will be in good hands.

b. i'm excited for your book, because i love david and augusten and i find your style similar and duh it's you.

c. ann arbor is beautiful. my aunt used to work in the anne taylor loft there....then she quit. but it is nice.

d. oh LA. i have 6 months off next year to intern so i hope to go there. i know i can handle it for sometime but the plan is to get situated in LA then move to nyc.

e. i'm dying to go to lady chengs. not because i'm a big 'mo...i mean i am...but because it literally looks like so much fun.

f. i amw orking on the 17...but i will send a cardboard cutout to the location and you can prop it up.

g. ryan phillipe forever.

alicia said...

I have a lot of good things to say about this blog. Mostly because I'm in that place in life where all you want to do is leave... but can't figure out where to go to re-start.
I'll save my rambles.

And I now officially have inspiration to start my blog (which I've had for far too long, but nothing to really elaborate on).
So thank you, thank you, thank you.

Crystal said...

I think you sum up New York perfectly with:
New York fucks me. New York fucks me so hard that I cry.

I see New York as tough love. It makes me want to relocate. Think Starbucks will hire me?

Anonymous said...

A few good travel writing leads:

1) Around the Bloc by Stephanie Elizondo Griest

2) Japanland by Karin Muller

and, at the risk of sounding pseudo-populist

3) Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

a;ex said...

on a scale from 1 to 10, this city keeps it real. I'm a big fan of keeps'in it real...
like those lovely trannies at Lucky Chengs, the music on friday, and this blog post.

The L Word? not so much...

eric mathew said...

if i was straight i would marry semicolon at lady chengs.

Allie said...

You probably know I'm going to say this, but I'm glad Ohio made the list, and made number one. Sometimes, I'm embarrassed to say how much I love Ohio. I defend it, though, and me, too, by saying I love Columbus. specifically, a college town with culture and politics and life, but still happily midwestern, quaint, urban, hip. I grew up in Akron, the old rubber capital of the world, but I think I believe Columbus is better than Akron in the same way New Yorkers believe Manhattan is better than anywhere else.

I do have family ties in Ohio (that is to say, other than me, my entire family, immediate and extended, live in a 30 mile radius of one another), but sometimes it's still too far. I was in Las Vegas for the past week, and nearly cried when my plane landed back in Columbus; as I flew over where I work, the sky so gray and clouded over, I tried to remember how ridiculously blue the sky had been in Nevada. I landed back here, and called my parents in the northeastern part of the state to say I landed safely, only to find out my dad was seriously sick, and they were on the way to the hospital. My mother, brother and sister have hardly left his side. He's going to be fine, but I feel badly for being so far (139 miles, if you're counting), for not being there, even if he's fine. I know I didn't go precisely because he is fine. But. I may as well be in another state, and that feeling makes me think I really could leave Ohio.

I want to live somewhere with good public transportation. I want to leave Ohio, but know I never really will, because I love it. Even though I have polyamorous tendencies, I'll silence them for other, busier cities the way I silence them for other, lascivious women.

jenn said...

i always want to get out and be free, but somehow my feet are stuck on these comfy streets.
when i say comfy what i mean is familiar and easy.
i dream of moveing if not just to re-find myself...but when all is said im just to weak!!!
maybe secretly im comfy being lost in familiararity!!

that comment makes soooo much more sense in my head??!

loved the blog...enjoy china

amjja said...

Loved the blog. It made me ask, once again, how I managed to make it only 70 miles from the town that I grew up in. Your description of Ypsilanti was spot on! I spent a year there with wall to wall light grey carpeting. And the reference to the "world famous Penis Tower" made my 13 year old boy brain giggle. Thanks for giving justification to my Sunday procrastination.

riese said...

jaime - similarly, I never saw another way. Maybe it was always being involved in the arts (with similarly inclined friends, of course), but it always has felt like the only thing to do. What else do people do? Where else do they go? And are there REAL ARTISTS there, or just posers in nice cars? But yes, always -- always defined by NYC.

dorothy - thank you!

NEP - Oh, I didn't do that all on Sunday. I did those things over the last four days, while trying to write a blog. Thank you for leaving your first comment for all the world to see. And yes, oh, I know that judgment well (the LI at UM judgment). There's a good Carrie Bradshaw quote about the land mines of memory in NYC. I know "good Carrie Bradshaw quote" is an oxymoron, but oh well. How long did you stay in Japan?

flynn - I like the sound of Yonkers, saying "it's outside of Yonkers," that was one of my favorite things about SLC.

dewey - I think Uni'll be filled with people who've never been elsewhere -- I was even the only person I knew at U-Mich who'd already lived away from home, let alone lived on their own before. That made me feel super weird, and like everyone else understood things about life that I didn't, which was true. You can leave the place behind. You might change a little bit but that's okay too. It'll still be in the same place, 'cause it is a place, that's what a place is, someplace that stays where it is. You'll love/hate different things about it, too, but all of that will be magical. Also you can come out!

eric mathew - Okay "b" is going on my bookjacket (semicolon write that down for the website). You and Ronnie should do a vlog at Lucky Cheng's, except it's very noisy there. RP 4evs and evs.

alicia - Thank you, thank you, thank you.

crystal - probably not, but maybe if you get in good with Magic Johnson. Or bring a megaphone.

anonymous - thank you!

a;ex - as you wrote that millions of lesbians were staring at each other on couches with nothing to say now that the show's over, like crickets! fo'reals!

allie - I like columbus, my cousins live there now, like my cousin who said "we live in columbus, we're not country bumpkins," as part of a longer set about how I could tell them "anything" (like that I'm gay, perhaps) and they wouldn't judge me. But things happen no matter where you are, everything happens without you in the room. I can't imagine taking being close to my family for granted, so I'm sure I have a whole system of justifications in my head for why this is, but it seems you shouldn't feel that's too far. after all you landed just in time. you know?

jenn - sometimes my sheets are so comfy I can't even get out of bed in the morning so I know what you mean. But actually -- and I'm being literal -- there's this huge hole in my sheet right now. Like its' so big it almost takes up half the sheet. Which means I will have to get a new comfy sheet. This isn't a metaphor, it's true. Anyhow, where did this graf start? Oh well, here it is ending.

amjja - holla, ypsilanti! I just wrote "hypsilanti" on accident, which I think is probs the name of the hipster area of ypsilanti. did you know that the penis tower won the national most phallic buildings contest? true story.

Diana said...

I grew up on LI (so close; so far) but my parents didn't take me to NY all that often, and not to the places that mean anything to me now. I can't ever remember a time when I didn't want/need to live here, at least for some period of time. I sometimes wonder if I grew up somewhere further if I'd feel differently. Would I have been out of reach of this city's magnetic force? I like to think the answer is no.

China, wow, awesome.

(I used the passive voice in this comment! I still don't understand when it's ok to use it and when it's not! Grammar is stressful!)

e. said...

This blog gives me too many feelings. It's like a whole stack of poetry, making me go all strange.

I've moved kind of often, but have only ever wanted to leave once; I was twelve and ungrateful and so very at ease, the earth knew my bare feet so well, the air knew my lungs. Very fine carrots grow in rural Alberta, I would eat them sweetly straight out of the ground, cleaning them on the corner of my shirt, which probably seems dirty but actually the dirt and I were on such friendly terms. It made me brave, to know a place so intimately and be known--it made me eager to declare myself, and I thought Brazil would be nice, with its lovely middle z like a lazy bee hum, Brazzzzzzzil, Amazzzzon.
I went, and was surprised at the pain, at the thick molasses drip of Portuguese, the bright colours, the shocking substitution of an s, Brasil. (I had forgotten the terror of foreign-ness, which I'd learned at preschool: being dragged inside screaming and biting, the hard unintelligible clack of the teacher's speech bouncing in my ears like pennies on a drumskin. I refused to sing in Czech, and they would punish us if we didn't eat everything on our plates, but the bread always had caraway seeds in it. I still hate caraway.) It grew on me, though--molasses can be a delicious taste. I learned red dirt roads, the tops of guava trees, and the unceasing machine-gun spatter on a tin roof in the rainy season. I rode mopeds and horses, played pool with toothless old men and soccer with dark barefoot boys who laughed and gave me teasing nicknames. Two and a half years, six inches, countless firsts. Little tendrilous roots dig in so sneakily.

I don't know why I wrote that. I guess I hope you learn the smell of trees in China. Or something to that effect, if you know what I mean. I hope you encounter lots of lovely things there, and maybe a few difficult things too, to make it meaningful.

I also hope you have internet access, and the will to blog, because China? Awe.Some.

Lez said...

This blog was so beautifully written that I teared up a bit reading it. I wanted to live in NYC when I was younger, and have been there a few times, but never made it. I now live in the town I grew up in for most of my life (minus the yrs from birth to 8 when I lived on Long Island, and the 5 years I moved to a town not too far away).

Not to be too cliche, but the grass really always does seem greener on the other side. You never think of the fact that the people on the other side are thinking the same thing. I've sometimes felt like a loser, living where I grew up, while others are out there having adventures. But I am not adventurous, and I love my home, my wife, and our simple country existance in Vermont. And when I have seen old friends from High School, the majority of them wish they could live back here too!

NYC is magical - and you are very lucky to be there! And I've always envied people who could go anywhere on a whim - or move anywhere, with no fear.

It was a rather lengthy post (NOT complaining at ALL!) so I must have missed it - where are you going? China?

Lozo said...

i could comment on this forever, but i won't. however, my sadness over your two-month city departure saddens me. who am i going to see broadway shows with? sigh.

oh, my word verif is lydtop. that's sort of a real thing.

Lozo said...

"my sadness over your two-month city departure saddens me."

yep, it's not your departure that saddens me, but my sadness that saddens me. it's a vicious cycle.

NEP said...

riese: I was Lost in Translation for like 2 weeks and then reality called and I had to go back to start a job I knew I didn't want but had to take or risk moving back home. Not sure what you'll be doing out in the Far East, but there's so much to see there that will blow your mind. I did a whole "back to my roots" tour of Asia a couple of years ago for 2 months -- let me know if you want the low down for what to expect or what to see.

Your slanty-eyed friend,
Natalya

PS Asians love blondes, so you're golden (pun intended).

riese said...

diana: I think the answer is also no, but sometimes I wonder if I would've cultivated Western dreams had I grown up on that side of the mississippi. I don't understand the passive voice either, I just sometimes feel I could be using it. So stressful.

e. I've never been anywhere much different from where I am. I'm acute to the smaller differences -- I could feel a supremely different attitidue between Concord and Ann Arbor, for example, and am attuned in general to the small subtle differences between one place and another, but never someplace so dramatic as where you've been, what you've done, and I guess where I'm going. Only for two weeks, and I hope to blog, yes.

lez: Of all the places to still be, I think Vermont is one of the most beautiful. The grass actually Is greener there, for one thing ... but yes, always, on the other side, unless we're 100% happy with the way things are, and then we have the greenest grass ever. Anything we're not doing seems inherently better than what we are, because it's full of possibility, because it's the future.

lozo: "my word verif is lydtop. that's sort of a real thing," wins the comment contest I am running in my mind, which is usually very competitive. mine, p.s., is omgwtfwhatthefucklollmao.

NEP: I've also been told I will be petted because I am tall, I imagine I will come back feeling Amazonian. I just hope I can get on the internet ... I'm nervous about censorship. The things I take for granted.

Bridget said...

"it goes from nowhere to nowhere by claiming to be about somewhere"

srsly poetic - not exactly accurate in regards 2 ur blog in my hum.op. but still brill...

i may have 2 steal it and apply it to my life goals or at the very least my facebook interests.