Thursday, July 31, 2008
Goodbye to all that
Maude is clearly ready for the big move to Boston. But am I?
The answer, as far as I can tell, is yes. I've had a rocky love affair with New York, but it's time to close this chapter in my life. Maybe I will live here again someday, but maybe it's just not in my blood. You can take the girl out of the Midwest but you can't take the Midwest out of the girl.
A good friend recently quoted Joan Didion's stunning essay on leaving New York on his blog, and not to seem like a copycat, but I'm going to quote it too. It perfectly captures the bittersweet feelings I have about leaving this exhilarating and bewildering city. To read the entire essay, click here. You won't regret it. Here are some of my favorite excerpts-- part of why I am going to graduate school for writing is to learn how to write something as powerful and true as this.
Goodbye to All That (1967)
It is easy to see the beginnings of things, and harder to see the ends. I can remember now, with a clarity that makes the nerves in the back of my neck constrict, when New York began for me, but I cannot lay my finger upon the moment it ended, can never cut through the ambiguities and second starts and broken resolves to the exact place on the page where the heroine is no longer as optimistic as she once was....
Part of what I want to tell you is what it is like to be young in New York, how six months can become eight years with the deceptive ease of a film dissolve, for that is how those years appear to me now, in a long sequence of sentimental dissolves and old-fashioned trick shots—the Seagram Building fountains dissolve into snowflakes, I enter a revolving door at twenty and come out a good deal older, and on a different street. But most particularly I want to explain to you, and in the process perhaps to myself, why I no longer live in New York. It is often said that New York is a city for only the very rich and the very poor. It is less often said that New York is also, at least for those of us who came there from somewhere else, a city only for the very young....
Nothing was irrevocable; everything was within reach. Just around every corner lay something curious and interesting, something I had never before seen or done or known about...I could make promises to myself and to other people and there would be all the time in the world to keep them. I could stay up all night and make mistakes, and none of them would count.