Thursday, September 09, 2010

We'll see how this plan works...

It probably won't. Money.

But nonetheless... I am HOMESICK, yes homesick, for New York (despite my having lived in Texas all of my life, aside from 2 years in grad school in San Fran). The 9th anniversary of 9/11 is this Saturday, and there have been many images of NYC shown on TV this week (along with the constant shots that I see routinely on various shows and ads). I just get pangs every time I see it. Especially with fall coming on... I miss the subway. I miss the scarf and hat sellers. I miss walking to the local delis for a salad. I miss Times Square. I miss Union Square. I miss sitting in Central Park outside of Joan Crawford and John Lennon's apartments. I miss the Chelsea Cinema. I miss walking on the Brooklyn Bridge. I miss standing at the southern tip of the island getting wind-whipped and looking out at the Statue of Liberty in the harbor. I miss the beautiful buildings, and being utterly steeped in centuries of history. I miss stepping out of my house on a Saturday and just walking around the city, seeing stuff and eating street-vendor food. I miss the fall and winter there. I miss the elm trees. I miss how the place smells. I miss the accents of the locals. I miss the variety of people. (Austin's pretty white, and I don't feel a kinship with either hippies or hipsters.)

And I miss Weehawken, too. The cute, turn-of-the-century neighborhood. That 5-minute walk to the Hudson, standing and looking over at the Manhattan skyline. My supermarket and drug store and deli and beer store all within a few-minute walk. I even miss walking inland to Union City and being one of the few Anglo faces amid all the Dominicans and Central Americans on the main shopping street, Bergenline, and checking out all the cheesy, crowded little dollar stores lining the street, walking home with bargain dish liquid and candles and socks and my slice-n-salad from my pizza place.

I really, REALLY shouldn't have left. I should have registered with 20 temp agencies instead of 4. I should have gotten a roommate to split the bills. Sigh.

Here's my plan. Well, not a "plan," really, since it relies on money that I do not currently have. Maybe I'll call it "a seedling of an idea," or "a ray of hope": My Austin lease runs out March 31 (in 6-and-a-half months). I've been doing long-distance freelance work for much of the summer, which is continuing. (Ironically, for the Jersey publisher that I worked for in-house when I lived there.) There are also two other publishing companies that I've taken proofing tests for and that have freelance projects about to start that they'd said they'd like me to work on. That's three places with at least some work for the next few months. Between the three, and with my low rent of $545, maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to save a bit of money up by March to move... "A bit" -- ha! I figure I'll need about $5000!

I was paying $1550 per month in rent in Weehawken (cheaper than NYC, but still!). However, I got into that lease in early 2008, months before the economy and rental markets crashed. And it was a big (2-bedroom) place, twice the size of what I really needed. I can get a one-room place in Weehawken or Union City or West New York like I have here now in Austin for about $850 per month. So that's about $2500 I'll need for first/last/deposit. And $500 for plane ticket/shipping of books-n-stuff. And $2000 to sustain me while I get re-settled there and re-register with my old temp agencies (plus 16 more!)... And, god willing, I'll still have the freelance income coming in. The work from those 3 publishing companies is the key, of course...

I don't mean to dis Austin with all of this. It really is a pleasant town, where I lived from 1983 to 2007. (Since I told people like my Jersey editors and author Donald Spoto that I've moved back, many have shared how much they like the town, have enjoyed either working or visiting...) It's just not ME. Like I said above, I don't feel a kinship with either hippies or hipsters. And it's a college town -- liberal and gay-friendly, yes, but also frat-boy-laden 9 months out of the year. It's just not diverse and exciting enough for me. There's nothing particularly beautiful to look at. I don't step out of my front door and get a THRILL, a sense of "what's going to happen next? what will I see next?", like I did in both New York AND Weehawken (where Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton dueled!).

Just writing all this out has made me feel better, less trapped... That $5000 may be a pipe dream, but it's not COMPLETELY impossible. Like I said, just a little ray of hope, something to think about and hope for. I was a complete idiot for moving back, but... at least doing so helped me to discover what I REALLY wanted. I honestly didn't think that I'd miss being up north like I do. I was sick of the constant job-hunting and not having enough money, just wanted to come home and be in a familiar, "safe" place again... I've learned that NYC and Weehawken were actually a lot more "familiar" to my psyche than Austin is.

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