It was intentional. The gap, I mean. All that space and time between the last time I had done this up until the now which finds me here again.
Seems like an eon.
Seems like a minute.
But I no longer write from a shit-hole basement apartment with the far too often wet floor and the boiler humming on the other side of the bedroom vent. I don’t write in between sits on a front stoop watching what city folk look like as they go by. And for whatever that place was worth- and it was worth something, even if that was to learn to get out- I am no longer there.
Six years that easily held some of the lowest lows I’d ever had. But necessary. Important. They tell you should always strive for happiness. I say nay. Ye must wallow about in the muck and mire of existence. You must know depravity and destitution. You must know loss and pain and the total lack of enthusiasm for what the next shit day might bring. At least for a few moments. And if not all performed yourself, you should at least claim some witness to it.
Though, I confess, my run wasn’t even that bad. People have had worse. But if these last few years were what folks might call a ‘dream’, I doubt I would have what I have now. And I would fear for that hypothetical me as he grew older. I have a feeling, and I don’t think we can scientifically call it more than that, but me thinks if your young adult life is a breeze and always enjoyable, there is going to be an uncalculated vastness to your emptiness as you age.
Then again, if your whole bout with young adulthood is crappy, well, then… you may just have a shitty life. It happens, I suppose. Not everyone gets a good one. But you gotta pepper in that contrast, when you can. For my twenties, there was plenty of whiskey. Never lost control, not really. But as my salty, old Captain says, ‘young men should be out getting drunk and chasing broads.’ And there is merit there, granted the young men are respectfully chasing aforementioned broads. And you gotta be able to hold down a good job while doing all this. But there’s the kind of learning you can’t get from books in that sort of stuff.
It is easy to slip, though. Had some moments myself. But for the most part, I would go out and be in good company. Myself and other humans hiding the exhumation of our woes in getting drunk and singing along to loud music, and the sort.
And sometimes greater things would rise from all that ruckus. Like a hundred grand raised for cancer research.
You know, that sort of thing.
But my setting is no longer filled with the obnoxious mufflers and the hooting and hollering of the preteen Irish bicycle gangs of the lower Westchester/northern Bronx.
It’s me and the birds. The babbling brook. The sway of the leaves in the mild breeze. And the bang of the occasional hickory nut on the back deck.
I swear, one of those things could kill ya, if it landed right. Like nature’s golf balls. Scared the crap out of me the first night. The house was still mostly empty, so every sound was amplified against the bare walls and open floors. Every footstep sounded like a stadium. So, you could imagine what one of those fuckers hitting the roof might have sounded like.
Where was I?
Last time we got at this, I felt there was so much more uncertainty. And not that I’ve got it all figured out… but shit, when I set out ‘on my own’ at the start of the last decade… My ignorance was laughable.
He had bold plans, that kid. And gusto. He just screwed himself by trying to be too specific. And so came the disappointments that follow such specificity. The places you think you’ll end up. The people you become convinced you will be with. The control you have over what happens next. Far too rigid to ever survive. Not as he was.
Which, of course, is why he didn’t.
You see, thinking ten steps ahead is great if you’re Sherlock Holmes. Which of course, no one is. He’s made up, you see. Fiction. It’s not about making ten moves at once. It’s about making the next ‘right’ move. And what that depends on varies. There is push back from the universe regarding everything we do. So when your ten move plan depends on all the prior actions going as hypothesized… well, you can see where the trouble starts to come in.
I’m not here because I made the ten moves I dreamt up before taking any action. That fell apart with the first bad move back when I was eighteen or so. Who can even say what the first wrong step was? Though a few suspects come to mind.
I’m here because, eventually- and perhaps it took me a while but I got the hang of it, but, yeah- eventually, I started thinking about making the ‘right’ next move. Which turns out, is often times not the one that you think you want.
The life my younger self dreamed up a decade ago, would have likely found me dead or worse about two years ago.
Instead, I own a lovely home in the countryside a skip, hop and jump from where my daughter lives. My neighbor is a farmer. Family farm. Over 100 years old.
I’ve almost got my garage organized. The music room is functionally set up, but still needs a bit more work. Haven’t figured out the cable, but at the same time, fuck the TV.
Ten years ago, I thought I’d be famous. Living in Manhattan with expensive things. The attention of any woman I wanted. The envy of every man.
Oh, how empty that would have been.
I’m much happier here. Barefoot on my deck. In a town I didn’t even really know existed until recently. Working on this and many other projects. Not because they fulfill the demand of fame and fortune. Because they don’t, and I don’t want them to. I do these things because I love them.
And after all these years. After failures and loss and partial demise, I still love doing this.
The time away was necessary. Couldn’t write while I was crashing at my folks. Couldn’t do much of anything but work and look for the next move. Well, couldn’t or wouldn’t. As a sucker for symbolism, I couldn’t allow myself to get too comfortable there. I had to keep moving on. And though it felt an eternity whilst waiting for that which was to come next- hindsight makes it seem more a blip.
And yet there is more work to be done, children. And I do aim to get to it.
Being famous would have been trash anyway. I’m more of the folk-hero type. I’d rather make a cult classic that a hit, anyway.