Tuesday 28th October, on the grass outside the Church of the Recessional, Forest Lawn, Glendale.
I just read over the last few pages of my notebook from New York and couldn’t quite remember the person writing it. It feels like yesterday and years ago. After four days of feeling hounded by the city, I sat in the back of a taxi on the way to the airport and it was like I had a thousand feathers inside my stomach that wouldn’t quit moving about. Just when I thought all I wanted to do was leave, I ached to stay. New York had bullied me the way it always does but everything I had thought was hollow and terrifying about the city was suddenly presented in my mind as enlightening and beautiful. I wanted more of it. I needed it to keep pounding at me. I wrote in the darkness like a madman, taking full advantage of this expanding clarity I seemed to suddenly possess. It arrived from nowhere but I had it and I had no idea what to throw it towards so I threw it all here. I don’t know where it is now or whether I was merely romanticizing my situation at the time. It’s not even something I’ve really thought about since that taxi ride, speeding through the Manhattan night with the sound of my Russian driver speaking loudly into his phone. But how could I? London sinks it’s gritty teeth back in, work belittles the determination to stay inspired, life plucks unapolegetically at dreams and all of a sudden, all of the taxi journeys in all of the strange cities are forgotten. And those wonderfully grandiose new theories that seem like they are going to stick with you forever go right along with it.
Sometimes, recognising something within yourself is enough to justify you ignoring it. Like knowing you’re doing something wrong but doing it anyway. You’ve understood it’s wrong, right off the bat, so your compassion and your common sense and your morality are still intact. You just don’t necessarily care right at that moment to indulge them. I think that’s what has happened between me and my self belief since New York. I saw it and I felt it and I held it in my hands so I can be satisfied in knowing that it exists someplace. But hey, whats the rush right? I don’t need to use it all up right away. Let me put it up there on the shelf for a while or stick the lid on and let it stew. It’s one hell of a burden to carry around when you’re not sure you’re ready to be the hero of your stories just yet.
I spent those last three months in California enjoying myself exponentially. I did the minimum amount of constructive work that I could get away with, I slept in late on numerous occasions, I saw the sunrise far too many times, I seeked out friendships and romances with the determination of a hound and drank a litre of milk every morning just because I felt like it. I lived out an existence that I felt largely unapologetic about (Until, it seems, I put pen to paper). I have pushed myself to the limits with stone cold reasoning and found myself coming up here, to the alcove, countlessly in attempts to regain some part of a soul that I feel I might be losing every day.
In the same way that this city has made me grow and shine and be strong, it is also more than capable of yanking me up by my roots and laying me out on the dashboard to dry. The brightness of the world is there to let you flourish but without remaining deeply rooted in the ground, you stagnate and plateau and will never be better than you were before you were plucked from your source.
For the first time in my adult years, the need to satisfy my short term life has greatly outweighed the constant need to do better. I’ve beaten myself up in such minute and forgettable instances that it has really had no effect on the outcome of my days. ‘Pace is the essence’…but I have not practiced pace, I have encountered speed at terrifying levels instead. I never want to leave this place, my beloved city, but this time I must. To nestle back into the ground for a short time, to remember what it felt like to be in that taxi on the way to JFK airport and to think again and to be dangerous and fearless within it. Like a firecracker into oblivion.