I am...a New Yorker

[Previous entry: "Po' (I cannot afford the 'or)"]

Monday, December 9, 2002
Back in Alphabet City

What I thought were two, tiny, plastic containers of peanut butter I pilfered from the cafeteria to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. One contained brown sugar. This is a classic example of how not a morning person I am. It’s how I end up wearing the wrong color shirt (because I tend to buy pieces I like in a few different colors) or discover at midday that the heels of my socks are on top.

At a bunch of clowns...and their crazy, clown politics.

Jen, and happy to know two of my favorite journallers are participating in Holidailies this year.

Birthday Girl with Nicole Kidman and Ben Chaplin, a twisted, little movie.

I am...reminded of how much and why I love New York each time I visit a new neighborhood, or better still a neighborhood I have not been to in a long while.

Sometimes I experience this phenomenon in my very own neighborhood, because sometimes with the $5k pay cut and rent I can no longer afford and the joyous back rent, my neighborhood just gets a bit chi chi for me.

It seems to me that, in this town, unless you are some marketing bullshitter, it’s your money or your life. When I was at Non-Prophet, I had money for dinners, vacations (well, spending money in Indiana, and New Orleans on $60 a day, hotel included), wash and fold, and cabs. Even with what I now see as a lot of waste, most of which was only designed so I could work yet more hours, there was always money left over on pay day.

Given this sense of money, or lack thereof, crushing in at me from every direction, I was strangely delighted to meet other people in my situation over the weekend. When most of the people you see on a daily basis are princesses whose mommies and daddies (both biological and euphemistic) are paying their rent, so their time is free to shop…it’s impossible not to wonder why you go into work all day, everyday, just to be broke.

This weekend, instead of staying in my tiny room all weekend, lamenting how every year is harder and harder financially and wondering what additional burdens 2003 will bring, I spent 24 hours in someone else’s room, finally feeling I was not the only flat broke motherfucker on the tiny isle of Manhattan.

Indeed, as M and her friend H recounted their unique verses of financial woe, I laughed at the familiarity. Although, I think it’s far less pathetic to be po’ like this when one is under the age of 30. Yet I was inspired by them all, because they were, each and every one, indeed following their dreams to act and otherwise entertain. They are, in their three story walk-ups with exposed brick, east of Avenue B, living la vie boheme, like Rent 10 years later, but without the catchy songs about drug addiction and AIDs.

It makes me wonder about this day job business. It’s just comfortable enough, I realize, that I’m not quite so hungry to pursue my dream very greedily in my free time. I work at it, slowly, but surely. Always, I have enough money to pay the rent, at least that’s never in question. Sometimes I guess I just lack the ganas to really get it done. I should be published by now, I could be earning at least my meager, secretarial salary on my own, between writing and design projects, if I just hustled and sold myself.

That’s where lesser writers have me beat, though, because they don’t find schmoozing and bullshitting icky. They wouldn’t hesitate to call that literary agent they know because they have no recent clips and don’t know what to say. They don’t fret over spending $30 for business cards, or think twice about pestering a filmmaker or author about a job. They aren’t so freaked about merely surviving, that they don’t have energy left to do the things they genuinely love.

I felt inspired by all these kids, struggling to make it and somehow laughing all the way. At home later that evening, I did the tiniest bit of mocking up a web page -- scanning someone else’s drawing and photo in and putting up a couple of pages.

It reminded me how the work I love doesn’t diminish me intellectually, emotionally or physically. Rather, it makes me feel energized, inspired, connected and joyous. Each piece or area of creativity reminds me of my self, my potential, my dreams. It’s an unvicious, self-propelling cycle. I need only remember to keep moving along my path.

[Next entry: "Composing Missives"]
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