Saturday, February 23, 2008

I've Been Thinking A Lot Lately

I went back through some old emails tonight, trying to clean up the inbox, and came across one from a very dear friend in New York asking, as I left that city, to please keep up this blog. She wrote, probably as Chris and I were leaving our Brooklyn apartment in the very late hours of the night or early hours of the morning, "[the blog will] still be a NY story, in a way."

I started this as a journal of my summer in New York, for those friends and family mainly in Minnesota to keep up on the sometimes exciting, sometimes not exciting few months I had out there. This blog was the offspring of me and that city. And just as kids grow up and move around, so too has this blog, with me. My story, for the time being, is here in St. Paul. This blog--and maybe this is why it is hard for me to come back to very often--reminds me of New York.

I am nostalgic. Read a couple of the posts from when I was getting ready to leave NY and this fact is all too easily seen. So, coming here, feels like I'm opening an old journal or a box of old pictures, because that's exactly what it is, right? It is just our modern day version of those things, right? Scroll down and there you have it: pictures and words from a summer spent in a great town.

And what of looking back? Why is this such a perpetual state of mind for so many of us? I have been forced recently to address the fact that I focus my attention on a lot of the wrong things and people much of the time. I do not think I am alone here. But why this compulsion to be somewhere we are not, to love someone who does not love us, to constantly look outside of our present situation?

Some say that this is the drive that leads to success. Never settling, always looking for the next best thing, onward and upward. Some say the opposite: We live in a constant state of unease and need to solely and wholly focus on the present, to be completely present. I think I, in theory anyway, land somewhere in the middle. As with most things, moderation seems to be the key. Toeing the line right smack dab in the center, able to see both sides as equally as the other, that's the way, right?

I rarely act so conscientiously as my words. I am usually tip-toeing along the high wire and then fall into the trapeze act and go swinging around far from the center. Still, this is where I long to be: Centered, able to look from left to right, to judge things for what they are and not what I project on to them. More relevant to this post: To be able to look forward and back with an equal amount of longing and memory. To look forward to the things that could come and appreciate the things that have come. To love them both fully as I see them both.

I never replied to the email my friend sent me on that last day I was in New York. I couldn't do it for the longest time. It was too fresh, and I couldn't figure out what I was feeling at that moment. I was frozen and could not respond specifically to the things she had written. Then the longest time became too long of a time, and I didn't reply.

So I guess this is my reply. This is a New York story. It, like a few unbelievable friendships, started and blossomed there. It's still going, slowly but surely. The friendships have been stronger, though still not as smooth as the ease of proximity allows. But when things are worth continuing, we continue them. And hopefully as we move forward, we don't lose track of the people and things who have pushed us along the way. So too, though, hopefully we don't get bogged down in the memory of them. We all need to recognize, and selfish as human beings are, it's not always easy to do, but we need to recognize that all the people are doing the same thing. They are looking back at you. And if you are there, they are looking at you. And if you are far away, they still see you, but not as prominently, because they just can't. Just like you can't. It would kill them if they did.

1 comment:

Vishen said...

So insightful are you, David. I like the intention you put forth here - to be centered and able to...look left, look right (like Koza's song, thanks for the CD by the way). Easier said than done, yet that seems to be true about most things worth doing.

About Me

David Luke Doody is a freelance writer and editor. He is a founding editor of InDigest Magazine (www.indigestmag.com), an online literary magazine and the blog editor for Guernica Magazine (www.guernicamag.com). His writing and interviews have appeared in those magazines as well as in The Huffington Post, mnartists.org, The Minnesota Twins Yearbook, and Intentionally Urban Magazine, among others.

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