Monday, August 22, 2011

I've got you under my skin, New York.

There's something happening with me and New York.  After about five or six visits, we are - dare I say it - developing a relationship.

To be honest, New York is the one city where I've always felt this sense of: "Should I?"  Past tense.  "Should I have moved here instead of California in my early 20s?"  "Instead of two years in grad school, should I have devoted two years to this city?  Paid my dues?  Made contacts?  Moved back home to Austin after a shiny Manhattan internship?"

There's this teensy bit of longing I have to stifle every time I walk around that city.  

An office in the Flat Iron Building, from one of our book publisher clients.  Isn't it haunting?

I think: I could live here.  I totally could.

New York is a city paved by ambition, and that's the thing that makes it so exciting.

Paella at Sevilla in Greenwich Village. It has an organ quality in this picture, almost like a heart.

Terroir Wine Bar on E. 12th, with some of the most wonderful women.

Over wine a couple of nights ago, I talked to a friend who'd moved to New York from Austin a few years back.  We came to the conclusion that, for writers (which we fancy ourselves), New York seduces you with connections and access.  Filmmakers in the bars.  Magazine editors in the coffee shops.

Meanwhile, Austin seduces you with quality of life.  War-torn from bigger cities, people flee to Austin, and rest in the cradle of its easy warmth.  The most stressful job I've ever had here is nothing like that of my New York peers: Megan has a 23 year-old brother who works 16 hour days.

***

I remember being 24, and coming home at 3:30am one night during grad school.  This was in California.  I was student teaching, working at a magazine, and going to class myself.  I sleepily poured myself a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats, and stood in the fluorescent light of our kitchen to eat it.  I was so tired and numb.  I walked into the bathroom, still holding holding my bowl, and looked at myself in the mirror as I took a bite.  I laughed I looked so pathetic, like a baby, but an old baby, puffy-faced but hollow-eyed.  

I thought, "well, you asked for it."  Took on so many obligations and so much work that it had come to this: standing in my bathroom exhausted, watching myself eat cereal for kicks.


That little memory is the reason I think I ended up in Austin.  New York appeals to everything inside of me that is Type A and workaholic, but Austin corrects this internal imbalance I have.  Left to my own devices, you see, I get all Puritan work ethic.  I know it may not seem that way by the looks of my blog, but inside this smiling redhead is a clenched Miranda Priestly saying things like, ARE YOU BLOGGING ENOUGH?  ARE YOU MAKING ENOUGH MONEY?  WHY, YOU'RE ALMOST 30 AND YOU'VE HARDLY DONE A THING!

However, Austin reminds me to relax and play and close thy laptop.  I've got such a crush on you, New York!  But seriously.  Thank God for you, Austin.   

Speaking of which, I'm back this week.  Let's play, city.

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