Thursday, October 4, 2012

Taking The Long Way Home

Marty and Goggla

Just because you weren't born here doesn't mean you don't belong here.

That's what I told Tripping With Marty when he announced he was going back to Peoria.

(I don't know where it is and I know I could google it, but I think I need to keep the mystery alive.)

So we all gathered at Odessa to say hello and then to say goodbye.

Nineteen years ago, Marty landed in a roach infested hotel room on the upper west side.  Roaches or no roaches, he didn't wasted a moment, doing more in this city than a dozen writers could have done in the same amount of time, daring to go where no imagination had gone before.   "A lot about being a New Yorker is going beyond the fear," he said in a voice that had walked into 365 noisy dive bars.

But over fried beige foods and brutally funny off-the-record-stories of a New York no longer on the streets, diaspora emerged

Rent, even his rare kind, was high, work was scarce, and, like all of us who belonged here, it was getting tougher and tougher to watch our home be erased bit by bit, street by street, artist by artist.  The diner counter, the bar stool, the affordable apartment where we had found one another was joining the fate of ice caps and the rain forest.  And that roach infested hotel was now a luxury something or other.  How, then, could a writer or painter or musician or dancer or for that matter anybody who belong here, stay here?

"Here isn't Here anymore," the Mariner said, splitting the last piece of a latke.

No.  Here was now virtual.  Here was in blogspheres and email, texts, and tweets.  Perhaps where we belonged was not a state, but a state of mind.  And perhaps that place could be anywhere.

Like Peoria.

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