Wednesday, August 09, 2006

This morning ...

Wednesday, August 9, 2006
Smallwood, NY

The notation of the hour in my morning pages reminded me and the world that was not watching that it was often very early when I took pen to paper and that it was often something very scary that got me out of bed before the sun, before the birds had begun to sing. This is how the writing started, in this form, the morning pages of “The Artist’s Way” and I have Julia Cameron to thank for it – and the friend in Los Angeles who encouraged me to read the book. It wasn’t until I returned to New York that I started the morning pages. I should have been writing in LA and during the near year I spent in exile after leaving, nine months of dark days and darker nights, nine months when I didn’t open the mail, put it in a closet and carried it around from place to place in boxes as it accumulated. I moved five times in little over one year and everything I owned fit into a handful of cardboard boxes.
It was ten years ago this month that I left my job at the Mayor’s Office in New York, the job I took upon returning to New York in 1994 and the only real job I’ve ever had. I enjoyed it although I was working poor at $50K a year in Manhattan, living with G. I left the job to be with her, and to get back into the movies and to get out of putting on a tie every day and going into an office and having the kind of responsibility that the job carried. I did love the work however and who I was in it and the connection it gave me to the Great City and all it’s neighborhoods and players, all the cops and borough presidents and neighborhood groups – I loved all of that and I was good at it. I loved being so integrated into the fiber of daily life in New York, knowing the names of just about everyone who did anything important in the day to day operation of the city and I had their telephone numbers and if I called they would get on the phone. Rudolf Giuliani and he was a tough mayor and when you said you were calling from the Mayor’s Office people paid attention. It really was a perfect job for me and if it had paid another $50K I might have stayed. The Commissioner’s job was the one that really appealed to me – but I wasn’t that ambitious or well connected and as it turned out my then boss remained in the job until Mayor Bloomberg came to office and brought with him the crew who had worked in his media empire. I don’t think my boss ever forgave me for leaving, although she did find a good replacement – a man who I think it still in the job and will probably get his pension if he can stick it out a little longer. Most of the people who worked in that office stuck around long enough to get their pension before leaving – but not me – two years to the day and I was gone – off to make a terrible movie that cost me more than one relationship and took years off my life but it also set my life on it’s present course, which brought me to a woman who loved me and to the almost three-year-old boy sleeping in the room just feet from this chair, the boy who woke a few minutes ago from a bad dream with a short cry and into whose room I ran, half asleep, knocking the fan off the small table in the hall as I went by. I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for my son, so if leaving the job of my life ultimately brought me the love of my life, it was a fair trade.