The Long Way Home


Letter to My City
April 25, 2012, 6:21 AM
Filed under: Pennsylvania | Tags: , , , ,

*

I confess: For years I dreamed of ways to leave you. I wrote to pen pals from Yugoslavia, Australia, Malaysia. I watched Manon of the Spring, got really good at conjugating French verbs. I replaced posters of teen idols with maps. I took train rides to New York, searched for opportunities. I waited for rescue. I hated your overcast skies, your old people, your sports teams, your unemployment. I hated your run-down river towns with nothing to do. I traveled around Eastern Europe, trying to find teaching work and family roots, only to return broke and confused. I called myself a writer, but wasn’t writing anything. Defeated, I figured we should make the most of it. I listened to your streets. I walked through personal history. I forgave my ancestors for never leaving this dirty, broken beautiful place. I still don’t know what the hell I’m doing here, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

[from A Conversation project]

Advertisements

10 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Beautifully put.

Like

Comment by thevintagetraveler

thanks, lizzie!

Like

Comment by Lisa

Well you are anything but defeated. I am reminded of Bruce Chatwin’s “What am I doing here?”. I hope you expand on this–powerful stuff, thanks, M

Like

Comment by Michael Williamson

I feel much more contented with Pittsburgh – something like ‘acceptance.’ It’s nice to know that we all come from somewhere. Also checked out the Chatwin book on Amazon, and plan on buying a copy. Thanks for mentioning it!

Like

Comment by Lisa

Reading this while surrounded by boxes and packing my life away to move from the east to the west. When I lived in Pittsburgh I thought it had been a long time, but really only five years, I’ve been in New York for 17 years now and have realized that time grows shorter as we grow older – I want to experience more. I’m not going to LA, Sydney or Singapore, I’m going someplace less exciting, smaller, quieter, cleaner, sleepier and possibly sadder because I still love New York. But, I’ll be living in a house, not an apartment and I’ll have a bedroom for the first time since I left Pittsburgh – there will be an extra room for guests, not just a sofa. Laundry in the house. Most all the things I loved have ended or changed so drastically they no longer make sense to me. As with my departure from PGH, I now leave here with a clear head and a clear plan. On towards Washington. Visit out west I have a room for you.

Like

Comment by Andrew Meissner

I was happy and touched to read your comment – it’s like a poem. You’ve captured really well that feeling of what it’s like growing older, moving on – or as I like to think of it “along.” It’s why I started this blog in the first place – my search for home, whatever that means. I too want the places that are smaller, quieter – I want to tune out the noise and get things done. I want to see the places that few people bother to know.

Like

Comment by Lisa

I feel like no matter what city or place I try out, I’ll somehow end up coming back to Pittsburgh. It sucks you in.

Like

Comment by reconstructingideas

i feel like that too. it’s probably like that with a lot of places, but pittsburgh especially (or maybe that’s because it’s mostly what i know?)

Like

Comment by Lisa

This one really hits home. (no pun intended)

Like

Comment by motherblue212

to stay or go? it may not matter, it’ll always be with us.

Like

Comment by Lisa




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s



%d bloggers like this: