I wrote the song “Keep Moving On” (from the SLEEP WITH YOU album) under the most heartbreaking circumstances. It was and still is one of my favorites. Some songs are like that. You just get lucky. Or better put, if you write enough songs, there are bound to be some that come out ‘just a bit better’ than the rest. Of course they’re all your favorite when you’re first writing them. Only time passing can tell you if one day they are bound to truly be one of your favorites or not. Besides having a melody that you can really sink your teeth into, one that appeals to me might be a better way of looking at it, it also had the unique ability to truly inspire me and lift me up whenever we would listen to it or perform it. It is just about the most honest song I have ever written. Nothing was held back, in terms of letting it all out, being vulnerable, laying it all out there.
So now whenever I am in one of those special situations where you don’t have much choice but to ‘keep moving on’, this special little song still tends to pop into my head, and lend comfort to my heart. And so it is with this upcoming move from our beloved apartment here in New York. I have been in this apartment for over five years. I have been in Manhattan for just under eight years. But it was time. Not only do i personally despise the neighborhood we live in here, for it is everything that living in New York should not be like, dealing with the landlord has never been easy. In fact it has always been downright degrading. Something I am not used to. And for those that know me well, you know that I have always operated from the viewpoint that one should never volunteer to keep one’s self bound in degrading situations. Some of the time that decision is ours. And if at all possible, I believe we should do everything in our power to pull ourselves up and out of these places.
There is also the issue of time and money. Princess Little Tree and I have been attempting to maintain two homes on opposite coasts for more than two years now. It is not an easy task to take on. It’s fun. But it is also very taxing on your health and energy. The constant packing and unpacking, flying back and forth, 12 hours door to door from house to the other. And then usually back again a few days or weeks later. It’s been grueling. And financially taxing. The constant pressure to meet all the monthly expenses and then some. When given the opportunity to renew our lease here for another year, something just clicked in me and I intuitively felt that as much as I love living in New York, we had reached that time when we would do better to pare down and hunker into one home only for a spell.
It won’t be easy. New York is home to me. It always has been since the moment I stepped off that plane and my feet hit the New York city pavement for the very first time. I had never felt “home” before that. Not in any town or city I had ever lived. Not in any town or city I had ever lived in to attend college. I always felt like I was visiting. Like an outsider. But not in New York. That first cab ride from the airport, over fifteen years ago, all I could do was stare out the windows with my mouth gaping open looking all around me as if for the very first time I was returning home. And yet I had never even been to New York city prior to that first time 18 years ago. Yet there she was, New York City, in all of her dirt, noise and glory. A spectacular site and smell and feel. Some say they “can only visit but never live in New York City”. For me it has always been the opposite. I can only visit other places, but New York City is where I live. [speaking strictly about the United States here… truth be told I feel even more at home in Italy. Just about anywhere in Italy does the trick. When there in fact, I actually feel it’s “homeness” underneath my skin. It’s cellular. It’s genetic. It’s deeper than even here in New York. But we’re talking about America here, and American cities.]
The decision was not as difficult as I thought it would be. Once begun. The process has been a different matter. More than difficult. Princess Little Tree and I put our life’s blood into renovating and fixing up this grand palace of metropolitan luxury. And it’s been a real shame watching it slowly unravel into just another empty New York apartment. One by one the furniture goes, as happy young couples who’ve just moved to The City stop by to pick up a piece or two. It’s an odd feeling, watching someone drool over something that you thought of as yours not two seconds before as they carry it out your front door. And yet, when it comes to Manhattan living, that’s how it has to be. Storage here is economically prohibitive. And a move cross country… well it is obviously in our best interest to keep the quantity of items we move to a bare minimum.
So all those special little items, you know the one, that piece you picked up together on your last weekend up in Woodstock that would go just perfect in the guest bath, become commodities once again. Something to be priced and then reduced and eventually sold and bought by another. Watching the local handyman take down our light fixtures — something we spent so much time on, in choosing, matching color and style, and installing — was the action that so far, up until this point, hit me the hardest. They have been purchased, by someone fortuitously who will enjoy them just as much as we did, and replaced by inexpensive and generic light fixtures that don’t manage to catch the eye even if you tried. And the same goes for so much more that was once an ocular delicacy here.
One of the many things that a move like this does to the system is reminds one of how transient our lives are here. How utterly impermanent everything is. When you’re younger it doesn’t really hit you. Moving. We move from town to town, even home to home within the same town, and it never manages to affect us much in any way. But when you take roots when you are older… when you begin associating your home with family and friends, with community, then it becomes something altogether different. Palpable loss. And palpable excitement over the potential for newness too. Still in the throes of it. So I will leave it at that. I am sure we will come back to the subject before too long. It’s inevitable.
Last Sceening: The Sound of My Voice — Great idea for a movie. Poorly executed. I am always surprised, still, when I see movies that appear as if the producers have barely put a thought into the story by the time the film ends. It’s as if they get an idea and then get so amped up about making the movie that the story gets left behind; abandoned in place of more concern for making the movie itself. A really good film does not have to be always be Apocalypse Now or The Departed. But they should feel “complete”. Whatever that means to each of us. This film was small. In every way. And simply not finished well enough to be of any concern to anyone other than the film makers themselves.
Which brings us to another one, that was quite the opposite. A movie by the name of People Like Us. Fully fleshed out and complete. Big and yet culminating in quite a small film by the time it reaches it’s denumoi. You’re sucked in emotionally the whole time, and having some fun and being moved along the way. Worth the watch.