18
Mar
07

ANXIETY & NOSTALGIA: HOME SWEET HOME

Got back last week from Long Island, where I spent a week visiting friends and flogging my book in bookstores. Unfortunately for the signing part, my timing was poor and many stores hadn’t gotten their copies yet. I signed books where I could, and at least let booksellers know I exist.

The weather was freezing cold. I’m not used to that any more. But in spite of freezing my ass off I enjoyed driving around the North Shore and the East End, visiting the odd bookstore but really enjoying the landscape, soaked in history, the unique feel of old Long Island. The fierce cold and the season meant I had the place pretty much to myself, which was nice.

I confess, I have a complex relationship to my home place. Some of the landscapes that mean the most to me, that have the deepest emotional resonance, are on Long Island. I grew up there. Imprinting runs deep.

But the place also makes me crazy. Showing up to sign copies of my books at a store in the same shopping center I used to hang out in in high school (completely rebuilt, but that’s Long Island) was enjoyable if you took it with enough irony and distance. But driving around in dense traffic along the strip/sprawl ruination of the deep ‘burbs induced fits of rage and anxiety that I remember only too well. There are good reasons why I left the island.

Being in love with anything on Long Island is like being in love with a piece of meat going into the meatgrinder. You know that, whatever happens, it’s not going to be the same.

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