As summer fades away here in Central Oregon my thoughts return to New Orleans, where I'll be returning on October 1st. I've been here in Oregon for the last four and a half months, by far the longest stretch I've spent outside of New Orleans since 2010. I felt like I needed that time away, to clarify my relationship to the city I've called home for fifteen years now.
Most nights here I've slept out under the stars, to the sound of owls and the joyous yipping of the coyotes (what sweet music they make!). Like Dracula sleeping in his Transylvanian soil, I felt some deep and old connection to this environment where I lived from the ages of 7-17. Like Neil Young said, "all my changes were there." Well, not all of them, but a lot of important ones.
Most days here I'd wake in the mornings and write, work a landscaping job in the afternoons, and play music in the evenings. It has been a simple, restorative period for me, but one also laced with a sense of exile. I started seeing a therapist, and tried to dig deep into all the things I've been struggling with for most of my life. At last, I decided that if I didn't want to feel like I was giving up, the only solution was to just not give up, to do whatever doesn't feel like giving up.
And so I'm "walking to New Orleans" once again. There are changes on the horizon. I'd hoped to finish a novel by now, but I only made it to 20,000 words, or halfway for a short novel. Nonetheless, I've resolved to move forward with publishing something, most likely a collection of the short stories and longer works I've written over the years. I have to accept that you've got to start somewhere, with all things. I'll do my best to post updates here of the changes ahead. If you'd like to follow the journey, feel free to subscribe below.