Heartbreak City: Thanks a ton, Colson Whitehead!

I lived in New York for seventeen years. I never thought I would leave. It was the place I belonged. A place of constant energy and incredible beauty. Just being there made me feel like I was truly alive.

And then, over time, those feelings started to fade. The city changed. I changed. It was time to move on. And I did.

After a few years detour in Portland, I happily settled in Los Angeles where I bought myself a little apartment and got myself a great dog. It’s not a decision I regret. It’s been many years now since that fateful day when I said “goodbye” to New York. It was ancient history. I was over it. And then I read a certain book.

Colson Whitehead is best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD and THE NICKEL BOYS. Back in 2004 he published this incredible collection of essays on New York. Not, New York, the place. New York the state of mind.

Impressionistic and vibrant, it puts you there during a rain storm. Or walking down Broadway. Or even at the Port Authority bus station. You are there. Living. Breathing. Seeing. Smelling. Hearing. All of it. You are there. It’s amazing that words on paper can do so much. But I guess that’s why guys like Whitehead get the Pulitzer.

And the thing is, I hate him for it. He woke something up in me I thought was comfortably asleep. I miss New York again.

I still don’t want to move back there. Life is good in Los Angeles and “My New York” is long gone. But it’s there again. That feeling of nostalgia one has for that shockingly beautiful but insane lover. The one who used you up and spit you out a shell of your former self but somehow still left you in love with the highest highs you ever felt. Even missing some of the lows.

Yeah, New York, I’m talking about you. And screw you Colson Whitehead for dredging all that up again!