Friday, February 19, 2010

2010: The Year of (The Birth of) The Commune

The lucky ones amongst this group of organisms we call the human race occasionally have moments that reveal to them the purpose and direction of all their past experiences. These moments are like the flash of headlights you see as a car makes a turn toward you and then away at the far end of a long road; fleeting, flashing, and unmistakable, they simultaneously illuminate everything down the road and everything that came before. At the risk of losing it all, I have to say: certain recent events provide evidence that I might be one of the lucky ones.

For the past few months, I've been feeling very inspired and artistically anxious; like I knew I wanted to create something but I wasn't sure just what that thing was supposed to be. I've felt inspired by the era of New York embodied by Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe: the New York of the true artist. Even though I had barely even heard those two names before this year, I felt an undeniable pull toward them and their story. I had daydream fantasies of quitting my job and moving into a big empty loft with my two best friends, getting a job at Starbucks or something, working to make just enough money to pay the bills, and using all my new free time to make art and love.

I dreamed about this so many times, knowing in the back of my mind that I would probably never actually do it, because the great value of responsibility instilled in me by my parents pulses through me too prominently. This pulse bugged me. I wanted to be one of those people: one of those people who just drops everything for art and love and beauty, who takes risks in the name of creation. I saw myself crouched on the floor over scraps of paper, my hair long and messy, or maybe short and messy, surrounded by paint smears and word doodles, with my two best friends on either side taking photos and editing film or painting or talking about art. I emblazoned this image on the back of my eyelids, labeled it "desire," and went on with my normal, responsible adult life. But not even the responsible side of me could make me stop wanting it. And once I want something, that's usually just it. I just don't forget things I desperately want. I don't even think I can.

I've always been a quality over quantity kind of girl. Given the choice, I would rather have one amazing steak than lots of mediocre ones. I prefer the experience of one incredibly inspiring piece of theater over a large number of ones that are just sorta inspiring. I would rather have mind-blowing sex once every few months than so-so sex on a regular basis. And the same basic principal applies to my history with relationships: I would rather have a small number of nurturing, enriching, encouraging relationships than a large number of relationships that do nothing but keep me entertained. I've always been like that, so it's maybe no surprise that the universe blessed me with Zachary and Jenny nearly three years ago - and that, now, the universe seems to be aligning, for whatever unknown future purpose, to bring us closer and closer together.

At the end of January, inspired by a particularly exhausting roommate situation, I decided that I needed to move out by the beginning of March. I put feelers out on Twitter and had a magazine acquaintance contact me telling me her friend was looking to move around the same time. Said girl emailed me, we met for brunch, I liked her and we decided to move forward with the moving process. We started emailing Craigslist links back and forth and going to see apartments. I liked a couple places but nothing overwhelmingly called to me. On Tuesday of this week, she sent me an email that changed everything.

She said we had an appointment that night to see an apartment on 104th street. I stopped and stared at the address, reading it over and over again to make sure I was seeing the numbers in the right order. Then I started laughing. It was the upstairs apartment in Zachary's building.

Aside: I don't really believe in coincidences. If anything, I tend to fall on the other end of the spectrum, seeing meaning where there probably is none. But sometimes, stuff happens that is just too strange - too uncanny, too serendipitous, and too fucking unlikely - to be anything but meaningful. And I really believe this is one of those things. I mean seriously: of all the buildings in all of Manhattan, his literally lands in my lap via a person I just met one month ago. It's not like I hunted it out. It came to me.

Even before the apartment came to me, when I was talking to him about my hunt for a new home, Zac told me that when he first walked into his apartment, it felt exactly like when he first walked onto the Ole Miss campus: he just knew it was right. He could feel it. He said he had actually been sort of reluctant to feel as good about the apartment as he did, because at the time he didn't want to live in Harlem - but he couldn't deny just how right it felt. I have to believe that there's a reason he felt the same way on both occasions: he's been pulled in a certain direction for years - first to Oxford, then to Ole Miss, then to journalism, then to New York, then to Harlem, then to East 104th - for a specific reason. And now I'm being pulled there too. And if everything goes as planned, Jenny will move into Zac's apartment at some point this year. And then we will all be there together, being each other's home and family and hub of artistic inspiration and creation. We will be The Commune.

I'm not getting the loft and the unemployment and the Bohemian freedom of Patti and Robert, but in a way, I'm getting an opportunity to create exactly what they had, on the terms of the lease of new youth.

I'm lucky - the universe saw the back of my eyelids. And I am so thankful.

April 2007


  1. As they say 'everything happens for a reason'... I bet u are excited.

  2. I fantasize about something like this all the time too.

  3. Just when you begin to think what's the point? the universe throws you a curve ball. I love when life happens this way.

  4. You remind me of those Romantic period poets who use way too many words to describe a tree. :P

    All kidding aside, I'd tell you my story of what my May 08 - May 09 roommate situation was like, but it would be longer than your blog. Let's just say, never again will I accept some of the things that I accepted.