I have never let my schooling interfere with my education
– Mark Twain
Some people associate specific periods of time in their lives with popular music (Thriller debut, anyone?) and some with actual events (where were you on 9/11?). For me, it’s codes; area, zip and country. It’s strange now when I think about how interwoven with my life that these short and innocuously random numbers have become. And while this is not a complete list of travelled Wilbury’s, it’s certainly a strong enough foundation to justify my X’er wanderlust.
Looking back, I realize how fortunate I was to survive the grimified streets of a city in transition. Nestled between Inglewood and Compton, Hawthorne was the red-headed stepchild of LA Suburbia – despite its Beach Boys hometown notoriety. But I am true to my school. Hawthorne and Brian Wilson – both of whom I would often miss in memory if not in practice.
Favorite Memories: Winchell’s Donuts, La Fiesta, Northrop Night at Disneyland, Manhattan Beach, Hiking in Yosemite, Eating at Sambos on Sunday mornings after church, CHiPs, Starsky and Hutch, long car trips to Valley View and my beloved Funship.
Kansas City (913)
Somewhere around 1982 I moved to Kansas to live with my dad and stepmother. While not completely unfamiliar, I was far from being local and that seemed just fine with the natives. I was accepted and began to grow out of pre-dolescence. And, at the age of 14, I accepted Christ as my savior in a small, wooden church chilled in early Spring.
Years later, these years would become some of my favorite. A time when Huey Lewis accompanied me to early morning basketball practice and slaying imaginary dragons was a favorite after-school pastime. It was here that I was introduced to Mizpah coins, theatre and my Christian Worldview. And after my stint in the Army, it is here where I would return to attend the University of Kansas. And, in August of 2000, lose my father.
Long Island, 11794
In 2003, I moved to New York to begin working on my MFA at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. From the get-go, NYC never failed to remind me that I was an outcast from the elite club despite my membership card. Sure, I lived there but I didn’t belong. Not. At. All.
All that aside, there is a sensibility that NYC never really changes over the years – almost as if there is no difference between the city you read about and the reality itself. And while it may not be everyone’s ideal place, the hardy people that call it home are composed of nothing less than solid composites.
In 2011 I moved to Europe. Again. Never being one to settle, I figured that thrice attempted trumped once achieved. For better or worse, it is here where I now hang my remaining years – along with all of the difficulties and blessings that accompany the residency of a cultural outsider.
Today, as with every day, I begin anew. Afresh. The setting of the sun most assuredly promising the hope of a swift, new sunrise – and all the glimmering hopes of flightful fancy falling in tow.
This, you see, is the power of belief and blessed assurance; a guiltless and timeless tomorrow. Therefore, we owe no allegiance to self given that we have received not what we deserve but, rather, what we do not. For this, and so much more, I am grateful.
I have paid a price for sitting seven years and seven hours from my borderlands. In retrospect, I find it hard to recommend to artful people or those whose constitution merit little reserve.
Would I attempt this color-by-numbers approach to life again? Hard to say, but, at the very least, the views never stagnate.