Tuesday, February 21, 2017
J David Osborne here. I'm housesitting for Scott in beautiful Bed Stuy, Brooklyn. I'm taking care of his dog, this wonderful cockapoo named Sapphire. She's an energetic pooch (she's a puppy). There are also cats, creatures I am not entirely familiar with, who seem entirely indifferent to my existence in their space, save for an incident last night where the orange one decided to knock my books off the shelves while maintaining a very cat-like eye contact.
I'm adjusting to the city just fine. The first few days were tough for me: I'm a kid from Oklahoma, and I've spent the past three years in Portland, Oregon. Portland's got the trees and Oklahoma has the sky, but neither of those environments are enough to prepare someone for the sudden culture shock of New York City.
I had to start off slowly. Little trips here and there: the bodega around the corner, the five minute walk to the grocery store, etc. Before I knew it I'd gotten on the subway. The F train was gone (who stole the F train?) replaced by the D, and so I took the G too far and ended up even farther from my destination (Uptown) than I'd been when I'd started. I corrected it and got to my destination. The lights, the push of people, the horn-honking: I can see how this place could be intoxicating for some. It's easily the most alive place I've been, save maybe Paris.
I've seen friends, I've eaten good food, but mostly I've been thinking about this strange thing that happens when we change our geographies. I know I'm not alone here, but perhaps this feeling is more acute in my dumb brain: any time I move to a new spot, it takes me a long time to adjust. It feels like my brain is trying to fit into a new mold and not quite making it. Overtime, the brain sags down into the mold; things right themselves.
I write in a lot of my books about how architecture and one's surroundings affect their output and their outlook on life. This new experience makes me wonder if there really is something to the idea that there's a thing called a "New York writer." I mean, how can there not be? There's also something called a "Portland writer," and an "Oklahoma writer." We're all products of our environment, for better or for worse.
Anyhow, tune in next week for guest author David Bowles, who writes about his new collection of short stories Chupacabra Vengeance, out this Wednesday from Broken River Books. I'll be fine here, I think. For a few weeks, at least.