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For being the biggest city in the U. S., NYC is quite a lonely place.
I tell my friends back in Chicago that it’s really fun because you can truly wear whatever you want without people caring or noticing (if you’d like me to illustrate with pictures of other East Village locals wearing neon colors, animal prints, or an occasional live cat on the head let me know) – but you’re often invisible as well.
Maybe it’s because I’ve led a spoiled life – always had close family and friends, but NYC is a test. Not just because it’s ridiculously expensive w/less than optimal living space (I don’t allow pictures to be taken of my apartment; I insist upon visiting for the experience over a still image) but because you’re by yourself. A lot. And the crazy thing is, I think I’m starting to like it.
With the exception of my mom reprimanding me for drinking wine alone tonight (before you judge, I was trying to write and I now understand why real writers are notoriously heavy drinkers), I’ve learned I may not be quite as social or as talkative as I would have previously believed. I actually enjoy eating dinner out by myself (usually with a good book) and the solitude when my roommate leaves and is no longer constantly trying to speak to me.
I recently read Jen Lancaster’s memoir, BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG ASS. It resonated with me not only because she hails from my beloved Chicago and the bus lines she spoke of were so familiar, but when she talks about the fast and easy friendships of the past giving way to new living, and relationship, situations:
“Suddenly I found myself living around people very different from me. We were diverse not due to ethnicity, race, or age, but because we didn’t come from a shared past; our jobs, hometowns, educations, and experiences were all vastly different and we had no instant commonalities…” (pg. 178)
This I can commiserate with. Yes, I’ve made acquaintances here in this huge, vast city that sparkles in the night and grimy by day… Even some people I call friends. But it’s hard work when you don’t have the baseline from which to start.
Luckily, I have books to escape the real world and I find myself disappearing into them quite often. For the second “luckily”, this trait is advantageous to being in a job I love. So while I desperately miss my friends in Chicago (there’s nothing comparable to living with your two best friends in a downtown highrise boasting a pool on your rooftop with a view of Lake Michigan) I like to believe I made the best decision in transferring my life to the East Coast. While I admit I’m not exactly living an Into the Wild survival expedition, I think I have given up some basic luxuries.
This may be a pointless post, but thanks for indulging in my slightly-wine induced thoughts and joining me all the way out here in NYC. In fact, I think I officially belong in that annoying group of people that think “everyone should live, and thrive, in NYC at least once in their life.”
Update: Oprah (along with some kind words and admittances of solo and proud drinking from OUB & OAD) has made me realize that moving to NYC is a worthwhile adventure for a job I love. Recently, Oprah shared a list of “The Top 20 Things I Know for Sure” and I’m happy that I am totally in line with several, including #13: Let passion drive your profession.
Growing up, I associated my “community” with distance – however far my parents were willing to drive to deliver me to play, and later the mileage I covered in my own car, cabs, trains, and planes.
As I’ve continued to age, the boundaries shifted from place to place, but frequently covered tangible ground. Within my community were others that shared similar interests and hobbies and had somewhat comparable moral values. Under their influence, I purchased clothing, drank my first wine cooler, and got my navel pierced. Obviously, my most prevalent hobby/interest has always revolved around books (even in my “rebel” years). And since reading is typically a lonesome activity, when I meet those rare souls with whom I can banter, discuss and share favorite authors and writing styles, I hold on tight. Luckily, with the advent of social media, connecting with people has never been so easy.
Thanks to noted technology, my community is no longer limited by distance. I can find people with shared libraries by a quick blog search, or if I’m really lazy just log into GoodReads or LibraryThing and see whose bookshelves are most similar. I can get personal book suggestions, read intelligent reviews, and even win the occasional new release through blog giveaways. So while my community may no longer be on speed dial, it is very accessible.
Earlier this month, the Denver Post questioned the future of book blogs in the interesting article, Who Will Write the Future? While the article is examining the more prestigious litblogs and discussing pay walls, I think it overlooks the importance of the book blog that may be “more enthusiastic than professional.”
…ok, now that you’re hooked, why don’t you stumble on over to the complete article at Beneath the Cover for a little thumbs up action 🙂
Thoughts, insights, experiences to share?
I’ve researched the Random House Associates Program and am quite interested (as in obsessed) in the opportunity, though I would like to hear more about it first-hand.
I think it is geared towards graduating college students, whereas I already have about two years of solid agency experience and wonder if it would be a waste of time when I feel as if I have the ability to jump right in to a full-time position? But it’s Random House, and as the largest general trade publisher in the WORLD it might be worth it!?!
A second worry is with the way this economy is going there is even a smaller likelihood that a full-time job would be available at the end of the program in July 2010… I need help!
If you have any experience with the Associates Program, or Random House in general please please contact me – firstname.lastname@example.org. THANKS!