Wednesday, November 23, 2011

on thankfulness

Part if me likes waking up in my sun-drenched childhood bedroom, but part of me always feels a little suffocated here, something like a hand closing over me and blocking out all the fresh air. I don't think it really has to do with my parents, who I enjoy visiting, but more the place, Rockford and all it's associations. And again maybe it's just a touch of cabin fever, since I don't really notice it in the summer when the outside is welcoming and warm and in bloom and I can spend hours outside waiting for the stars to appear. There isn't this quick plunge into dark and we're all stuck in the house. It's ridiculous, but sometimes I feel like I need be careful lest I get stuck, get trapped here, this house, this town, this brackish landscape. Eleven years ago, after I finished grad school the first time around, I almost did, almost settled for something I wasn't sure I wanted, but was willing to want it because it was easy. Luckily, things worked out the better way, espeially since I can't imagine life here, working 7-3, going home so tired I can do nothing but stare at the television, the hassle owning a car (one of the best surrenders I made moving back to the city), a lack of stimulation, of culture.

I was discussing with a friend a couple weeks back how amazing the city is to live in, how there's a feeling that anything interesting or unusual or interesting can happen at any moment, how there's a certain freedom to do whatever I want, whenever I want, with whomever I want. Sure, I'm pretty adhered to my routine of studio time then work then home, but I have more leeway to do whatever I want outside of that, which somehow seems less of a possibility in a town that rolls up it't streets at 9pm. Let alone all the creative stuff (my writing, the press, my artwork) I'm not sure would have stuck if it didn't have a steady culture to evolve in, the writing friends/poetry scene/ literary culture I am part of, the collage workshops/galleries/creative environment that has spawned so much. There are a million things I could be doing at any possible moment (readings, museums, galleries, productions, film screenings, bars, restaurants, picnics in the park, street fairs) and even if I don't do them all, it's immensely satisfying to know they are there.

Almost exactly eleven years ago, I took my job at Columbia very suddenly, packed up everything I had and moved in two weeks and started the Monday after Thanksgiving in an apartment pretty much with only a bed, a chair, and Christmas tree. There was so much snow and so very quickly that year. It was amazing and exhilarating and sort of scary, but one of the best decisions I ever made.

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