THE WOUNDS OF WISDOM CANNOT BE HEALED
a twenty something in NYC in the early 1990’s
I bought a one way ticket and packed only what I could carry comfortably. After graduating college, I decided to move to New York City to be a photojournalist. I did not know anyone, and I had never been there. I arrived on Thursday, got a job on Friday, found an apartment on Sunday and started working Monday. I lived in a 4th floor walk up in Brooklyn Heights and I worked at a photo agency in Manhattan. Absolutely alone, although surrounded by more people than you can imagine.
I believed that every single person I would meet in NYC would be amazing. On a path, working towards a dream, creating a life, living their true life force. Not true. So many people there were just passing through. I was fearless, young, capable, broke, happy, and alone. I was there on a path, working towards my dream, creating my life and living my true life force. Life in New York is manual but rewarding, energized and addicting, and carefully satisfying. Greeting my solitude I sunk into a sacred realm understood only by those who live in New York City.
When, I got my first paycheck and realized that my rent would consume roughly 70 percent of my take home pay I got a second job. When I would finish work at my second job at midnight and could only afford a $5 cab ride, I would have the driver take me just across the Brooklyn bridge and I would walk home from there. When the first snow fell, and my frost licked feet felt like they would break in two, I cried. When Spring came and the trees blossomed and for the first time, I experienced the true thrill of a season (which I never had growing up in Southern California), I cried.
This place I had come to explore, I curse and crave in the same breath. I desire and withdraw with equal temperance. Where moments are buried in the rhythm and pulse and sensations blend with the city subconsciously. I seeked and devoured every bit of information. I felt transpired by all that I was supposed to be.
I loved my life there. My beautiful tree lined street and cozy neighborhood. My apartment, the seasons, work, and some wonderful people. Like Sal, who owns the café around the corner who makes me feel welcome and special. The guy at the corner deli who loaned me a hammer in the middle of the night. Meredith Pitkin, the poet I met on the steps of Henry Street.
After a couple of years working and living the manual life that NYC provides, I started to miss myself. Caught up in the dailyness and responsibility, I had no time to think my own thoughts. Would I also become like the other New Yorker’s I’d met – and be satisfied with just passing through?
Life after college is hard. Life in New York is hard. Being young is hard. But in my bliss of doing what I set out to do, I did not know or feel any of that.
Until I did.
And then I could not unknow it. The wounds of wisdom cannot be healed.
I kept journals, wrote poetry on a smith corona typewriter I had bought at a garage sale, scribed letters to friends, and I stayed in New York for nearly 3 years. I was determined to pay off my school loans before signing off and moving on to my next adventure.
I created a memorable life there that included Sunday night dinners with friends, hundreds of walks across the Brooklyn Bridge, being broke, looking for love, being robbed, paying off my student loans, sleeping on the roof, writing good poetry and writing bad poetry, adopting a mean cat named Emerson, hosting friends from home, being felt up, working hard, and looking for meaning. I lived in my dream apartment and met wonderful people.
This is a memoir of a girl from Burbank who blindly moved to New York City in 1990 - Post college, pre internet, the country on the verge of a recession, no cell phones, just a manual typewriter, my journals and a camera wondering about life force and trying to find my place in the world.