Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring - and a renewed sense of excitement for New York

So it's been a rough winter. In more ways than one. 

For one thing, I forgot what winter can be like (temporary insanity, since I fucking grew up here and went to school here, and understand all too well what it is like to really spend a day walking around in sub-freezing weather). I guess I had a kind of idealistic view of it, a true Californian idea of the seasons "Oh gee isn't that quaint, it gets cold and then it gets warmer so you really appreciate your surroundings and your body on this earth. Wow, I can't wait to experience the changing tides of this our Mother Earth." And then I remembered that I'm not a Californian, that I'm actually a New Yorker, and winter fucking sucks. It is, I soon remembered, brutally, unforgivingly cold and windy. The snow is nice in November, but really really tiresome on March 20th. It just doesn't end.

To add to the general discomfort, my clothing rebelled against me. In about mid-December my boot zipper stopped working, so I had to pin it with safety pins - which led to wet socks. And soon after that, my last button on my frayed coat popped off - which led to a lot of really unattractive layering. And then the zipper on my favorite warm man's sweatshirt broke too - so that led to some more creative and bizarre layering in the true tradition of Lillian's sense of style, with safety pins and a fair amount of disregard for other people's raised eyebrows. It would have been more humiliating if anyone in the city could raise their head against the wind. Luckily they couldn't.

Furthermore, my radiator clanks. Really loudly. Now I understand why my parents couldn't sleep - the radiator in their former/my current room echos throughout the apartment. I am not exaggerating. It is awful. I finally figured out how to make it quieter, but I still had to sleep with a pillow over my head just in case.

Last year on my birthday it was 80 degrees and I spent the day outside in Dolores Park before getting high and seeing my then-boyfriend play a gig. This year there was a blizzard and I spent the day in a windowless basement.

Meanwhile, the whole city got depressed. Including myself. It's called seasonal depression, and everyone I know suffers from it because it's not just the dark and the cold, it's the fact that you can't go outside for prolonged periods, because when you do the supposedly kind and giving earth assaults you from all angles. Everyone feels like they're not doing enough, that their life is not going in the right direction, that they should quit their job, that they should disappear into the naked city, that their apartment is too small to hold all of their emotional baggage even though they don't have any furniture to speak of. It's quite amazing, and actually talking about it makes you feel surprisingly less alone - but in mid-February that's cold comfort when Phil shows up and says (like he does every year) that we get six more weeks of winter hooray.

Of course no one actually quit their jobs this winter, because the real kicker of the winter of aught-9 is the economy - the unending spiral that we have found ourselves in, which is enough to make even elementary school kids nervous about their parent's place in the world. So we all just slogged along and got worried and felt trapped.

Well, everyone, that is, except me. Because this winter I also quit my job. I decided to quit in January, and voiced this, and then stayed on until mid-March. This made for a very weird couple of months in the basement. And then I left.

And I think it is fitting that it is now spring - or will be very soon. The economy, as you know perfectly well dear reader, is still in terribly crisis and we will probably not pull out of it anytime soon. And consequently I am having a miserable time trying to find a job. But I feel a profound sense of rebirth.

Because, of course, I would be remiss to not mention the exciting things that have happened this winter. Like:

I directed a show, and it went up in January. Sure it was off the J train in a part of Brooklyn I'd never been to, and it was in the equivalent of a first floor apartment with a kitchen. But none of that really mattered because it rocked.

I am in a show right now, which will go up in a week - hey! You should come see it. It's called Negative Space and it's playing at The Looking Glass Theatre at 57th Street. Which is in Manhattan, baby!

Both of these shows are produced FullStop Collective. FullStop is the company that I started with my friends from NTI and it is actually taking off and working. This winter we formed an administrative body, joined up with Fractured Atlas and started moving forward.

Meanwhile, I have also started going to something called the Creative Forum, run by two guys who went to NTI during different semesters. People show up, bring something they're working on, a monologue, a piece of poetry, a play, whatever, and then we all talk about it. It is incredibly stimulating and has made me want to really start writing even though I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing.

In short, I have found an artistic home, and the New York downtown theater scene is increasingly less daunting. And that alone makes me want to stay here. Which is currently the plan. And that's kind of wonderful.

So - it appears that winter is over. And I think I am finally and honestly loving New York for what it can offer me, instead of hating it for what it is not.

That said, I'm going back to Cali for a six week sojourn in May and June - just because, you know, sometimes I miss my heart.

(I've recently been introduced to the song "going back to Cali" and now it is constantly stuck in my head - man I don't think so)

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