Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Place magic


copyright Dave's Marginal Hacks
Moving to California was the fulfillment of a dream I never thought would come true. It was the land of San Francisco and the Beats and the thud of the ocean waves on the sand. It was Height Ashbury and Beverly Hills 90210 and the Dream Factory of entertainment back when I was dying to work in film or television. Best of all, it was not New York.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I love home (I grew up outside of it) but it was tagged with all things familiar, and with all things, family-iar. It surrounded me from everywhere I could see in my town, Shangri-La buildings rising in the mist, throwing the squat practical houses around me into relief. It was a thrill every time I could go into the City (as we all called it, no additional names necessary). I considered it my spiritual home, and thrilled to the final lurch of the train that threw me against my neighbor, and let me know that soon I’d be among my tribe again. New York City was striving excitement chaos hey tuck your gold necklace in stare up until you get a kink in your neck watch out for that taxi creative people lounging like art everywhere.

But it wasn’t California.

California called to me at a young age, expansive beaches and magical palm trees glowing with the white-hot sun of possibilities. Seeing it over and over again on television and in movies, I absorbed the idea that California was the way life was supposed to look, supposed to BE.

Nothing I learned as I grew older changed my mind.

California was progressive--the place where people moved to dye their hair and reinvent themselves. The place where social movements groaned and stretched and were birthed. It never failed...whenever I discovered a time period or an artist I really loved, California was in the picture somehow. California seemed...happy in a way that home seemed pinched, troubled, clouded over.

I never even thought I’d have the chance to see it--my family never traveled past the East Coast. Sure, intellectually I knew that eventually I’d have the freedom and adulthood to be able to book a plane ticket and visit myself, but that knowledge never really sunk into my heart. How could a very mere me even imagine that she could visit such a place? Didn’t they check for "cool passports" at the border?!

One of the things I’ll always adore about TEG is his way of shining the light of sense on me. He said, "Why don’t we just go there?" I stammered and shook my head wildly and admitted, "It’s always been such a dream that I don’t really think it’s possible." So, ever-practical, he booked airline tickets, told me to book a hotel, and proceeded to make my dream come true.

I looked around me a lot on that first trip, as though I was waiting for someone to shout "imposter!" and send me home on the first flight back. It was the first time I cried on the way home from a vacation.

It is still incredible to me that we made it happen--we actually moved here. To live! Is it ridiculous to admit that I always get a little charge of joy when I see my address? Well, then I am ridiculous.

You see where this is going, don’t you?

We’re moving again. Back to the Midwest. And even though I know, rationally, that things have been difficult for us here, and I also know, rationally, that TEG traveling less can only be a good thing for our little family...my soul hurts at the thought of giving up whatever magic is in the air here...the magic that helped bring me back to my creativity. Can I find a way to keep it going, even with cold gray skies and snowy mornings? Can I find a way to uproot myself from my perennial fantasyland? I think on some level, I still feel as though I’ll never be allowed back in.

I suppose it will be a good thing to learn that California is just a place, after all? Or so I have been telling myself every day since we decided to do this.

I need to get excited somehow. Help.

(edited to add: that's where family OHT was last week...visiting our soon-to-be new home.)

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9 Comments:

Blogger Nicole said...

UG! Moving can be a challenge. I guess you have to see it all as a journey, not a destination. Maybe you'll be back. But at least you did get to live there for a while. That way you don't always see it as an unattainable goal. Everything happens for a reason...

3:30 PM, April 19, 2006  
Blogger Yummyteece said...

OH no! I've never actually met you in person, and yet there's been some comfort knowing you were only a day's drive away (not even that!)

Moving is always a challenge. But changing your location won't really affect your communication with this, our new found tribe. And maybe Cali helped you wake up your creativity, but now that it's discovered and breathing life, moving away won't kill it. Don't you worry about that!

You will always carry some of that magic with you. You've been here, you've breathed the air. Your time in the West has changed you and invigorated you, and I can only think that the Midwest is VERY VERY lucky to have such a vibrant creative soul joining their ranks.

8:56 PM, April 19, 2006  
Blogger la vie en rose said...

it sounds like for you this is more than a move. it is a little bit of letting go of a life long dream--even though in reality you can have this dream again in the future. its hard to let go of something that holds that much meaning for you. i think your creativity will continue to blossom and isn't dependent upon CA. and you have this blog now and that you can always take with you. and there are so many opportunities to stay creative in the blogspere.

10:41 PM, April 19, 2006  
Blogger andrea said...

Oh I can relate to your post so much. While I am not moving across the states, the feelings are the same.

Perhaps you can tuck into your hearts pocket your thoughts and dreams about California and pull them out on snowy mornings and smile. Remembering the hot sun on your face and the breeze in your hair.

Honestly you will do great where ever you are as long as you have your loved ones. Your creativity will still find a way to make itself known.
a.

9:15 AM, April 20, 2006  
Anonymous Jennifer (she said) said...

okay. i just lost my original post so this is going to be a quicker version :-) i said, in my original, something like this:

i ache for you and the move you will be making because place matters and i understand that. & of course i understand that this move will be good for your family and that this is important as well (but it still sucks to have to leave a dream). as a little girl i felt stuck in ohio and dreamed my parents would take me to californaia to live. i visit SF as often as I can and other places in CA as well. but right now i'm in michigan, most likely for some time. so every week or two i say "michigan sucks!" and it makes me feel better, but not for long. it doesn't really help. so i try to make my home a place i like. i try to take care of the things i can control so that the sad feelings i have about where i live don't bother me as much as they could. i'm sorry :-(

i also wanted to respond to a post you left very recently about my writing - it was your writing that gave me a good kick in the butt. i was being lazy and not bringing my whole self to the table. i was trying to ignore a lot of work i'd done and need to reflect on. i respect your writing very much and decided to stop holding back. i need to read others work to be a writer. it's important to me, and your writing is important to me. so thanks :-)

10:16 AM, April 20, 2006  
Blogger M said...

Oh wow, moving all the way across the country- that can't be easy! Especially with a family. Where are you going to be, back in New York? Remember that you can be home where ever you are, with your Love and your daughter and your writing. And you will always have California, right? Maybe have a Cali room in your new house, or a yearly trip back to feed the artist within you. You can do it!!
Let me know if there's any way I can help at all!

11:15 AM, April 20, 2006  
Blogger deirdre said...

Yes, this is a good place to live. We have so much here, good weather (except for the never-ending rain this year), beautiful scenery, a freedom to be a little different. I haven't lived anywhere else in this country, and only a short time in Ireland when I was a kid, but I know I'd hate to leave CA. I'm north of S.F. in rolling hills and sweeping views. Life is too fast and houses are too expensive, big city has moved to small city, and parking at the grocery store has gotten to be a challenge. And I love it here too. A place can call you to it and you belong. You'll be back.

10:08 AM, April 21, 2006  
Anonymous Marilyn said...

Oh no! Just when I'd gotten used to you being only a day's drive away. :) I've spent 41 of my 51 years in my home state of California...and I must admit, I missed it that decade I was gone (and half of that was spent in a tropical 'paradise!') That said, I hope you'll find wonderful things to love about your new home city/town. You know, 'inhabiting' the blogosphere helped me immensely during my away years...as La Vie said, we'll all still be HERE no matter WHERE you are. :)

8:32 PM, April 21, 2006  
Blogger Mardougrrl said...

Thank you so much for not saying "suck it up" which is what my inner judge has been saying for over a week since I found out we're moving.

And thanks for reminding me that we all live next door to each other in the blogsphere.

And my California sisters, I'll be back soon. :)

2:16 PM, April 27, 2006  

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