I woke up around 8:45, and lay in bed a while. Outside, the sky was crisp blue. Traffic was stirring. And I could hear the birds in my AC unit chirping about. There was a 15K in Central Park that, if I hustled, I could make. But I was out late, dehydrated, and unmotivated. Plus, I’ve had this nagging sense of dead weight lately. That is, I’ve been feeling boxed in, cluttered. Like it’s time to get lean, before getting on.
There’s all sort of junk in my closets and the storage spaces above just gathering dust. So I went spelunking. And I’m right in the middle of it now. The living room is strewn, literally piled, with every sort of artifact from the last ten years: my broken Takimine acoustic, camping gear, tattered running shoes, old letters and tax records, set lists, rock clothes (pleather, lame, sequins, and polyester from my Lower East Side glam phase), photo albums, books, and every sort of media imaginable (VHS, Beta, DV, Hi8, DAT, CD) all stamped, no doubt, with some visual or aural record of… me. What’s it all worth? What’s it all been for, this spindthrift of my singer/songwriter career, of my time here in New York. It’s busy-work, evidence of motion towards something. But in the end, it’s just sound and fury — ink and paper — signifying nothing.
I’m saving some of it: the promotional buttons, original drafts of all the songs. Some day, I’ll have someone to show. To warn. I’m considering putting much of it online: every song (there are hundreds never recorded or released), every photo, every mailer and poster: the ephemera of the rocknroll fantasy. But most of it is headed to the dumpster out front. Finally, I’m letting go.
Way in the back of my attic was my Macintosh SE40, which was my typewriter through Syracuse University, The Saratogian, and Rolling Stone Online. I poured over interviews with Ben Folds, Ani DiFranco, Buffalo Tom, reviews of Weezer, Goo Goo Dolls, They Might Be Giants, and my column, “B-Side.” Sitting at the kitchen table putting together that tiny monitor’s purple pixels, goose bumps spread slow and steady, like a great warm wave, over me as I read my last column. I remembered why I’m here, and how I got here to begin with.