Appreciating Where I Am

I’ve been looking around lately at where I am, I think because I know I’m leaving soon. (I’ll be away for a month-long stay at an artists colony in the California mountains—and I leave in March!) I didn’t grow up here in New York City, but I’ve always been drawn to this city. Really I can’t imagine a better place for me anywhere else in this world. Maybe that will change when I see San Francisco for the first time very soon, but until then…

I think it must be in my blood to love this city, ever since both branches of my family came here through Ellis Island and settled here (Brooklyn, Washington Heights). The city lives in me beyond that, from when I was little, when my parents worked in Manhattan, and I’d come from the mountains down to visit at the factory, romanticizing every moment, even the guarded walks through the Port Authority to get to the top level of the parking garage where we always parked the van, even the thunder of the sewing machines on the factory floor and the soot-covered windowsill where at four, five years old I’d gaze down from far above at the flood of yellow cabs in the street and imagine one day getting to ride in one. (My father’s side of the family owned a small flag-making business near Union Square.) It was a longtime dream of mine to live “downtown”—and though E and I couldn’t make it come true when we moved here for six months when we were both 19 (the only apartment we could afford in Alphabet City was full-on frightening so we moved to a cheaper place on 100th Street), it did finally come true after grad school, when my cushy university-subsidized housing ended upon graduation and we abandoned Morningside Heights for Greenwich Village.

So now, here I am. And my walk-up apartment might be tiny and dark and more than we can afford even with the rent stabilization, but lately I’ve been thinking that I am where I’ve always wanted to be. I’ve been wandering the streets of my neighborhood—through all its layers of history, which I adore imagining and reading about—thinking of how happy I am to be here. How here I am: writing a book under contract; freelancing in book publishing and being a part of making other writers’ books come to life; writing in coffee shops, often with friends; walking absolutely everywhere so I rarely have to go above 14th Street.

And yes, this all may be temporary, because I can’t know for sure what will happen with my new book proposal (fingers crossed). And sure, when I think of our financial reality I get very, very scared… but here, in this moment, you could say I’m perfectly OK.

I’m just appreciating what I have right now while I’m here having it.

For now, for today, you will find me revising my novel here:

On Broadway in the Village, looking up at my writing space
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8 thoughts on “Appreciating Where I Am

  1. daisywhitney@gmail.com February 4, 2012 / 4:41 pm

    When do you come to SF? We must get together!!! Great post. Love it. Can picture you perfectly…

    • Nova Ren Suma February 4, 2012 / 4:44 pm

      I will email! I’ll be at the colony close to SF for a month starting March 13 and then I’m taking a few days in SF in April before flying home because I’ve never ever seen the city… and how could I possibly fly through without doing so? That would be insanity. Not sure where I’ll be staying yet, but I will figure it out and let you know!

  2. Carol Knee-Omant February 4, 2012 / 4:50 pm

    It looks fantastic Nova and I’m pretty certain that you can feel just a little superior that you have it all worked out. Financial security may make things easier, but it can’t buy you the feeling that you are experiencing right now – sheer joy to be where you are at this place in time. Enjoyed you blog, thanks!

    • Carol Knee-Omant February 4, 2012 / 4:51 pm

      It looks fantastic Nova and I’m pretty certain that you can feel just a little superior that you have it all worked out. Financial security may make things easier, but it can’t buy you the feeling that you are experiencing right now – sheer joy to be where you are at this place in time. Enjoyed your blog, thanks! (with correction this time 🙂

      • Nova Ren Suma February 4, 2012 / 4:53 pm

        You are sweet. Thank you so much, Carol! 🙂

  3. Heather Sunseri February 4, 2012 / 9:06 pm

    I. Must. Visit. New York City. I grew up thinking I would live in a big city somewhere. But now I know I am, and always will be, a small town girl. But I still love visiting the big cities, and I’ve never been to NYC.

    But… if there was ever a city I could see myself living in? My favorite American city of all time? San Francisco. I got engaged there, and have loved that city more each time I’ve visited.

    I love that you are enjoying and appreciating where you are right now. There are people of all levels of wealth who struggle with that feeling. Enjoy it!!

  4. Sarah February 5, 2012 / 10:14 am

    I love this post! I often feel that way about NY too and currently about my Brooklyn neighborhood. It just feels like where I’m supposed to be right now,which is such a great feeling. Have fun on your retreat! It sounds absolutely amazing.

  5. Elizabeth February 6, 2012 / 2:55 pm

    Good for you to find such wonderful perspective. And I don’t just mean the interesting photograph :). Accepting that life will change is a powerful lesson.

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