god bless the child that's got his own

Was it really this hot last summer? Somehow, I don't think it was. I don't remember the edges of every poster and snapshot affixed to the walls of my bedroom curling in quite so noticeable a fashion, as if to say, "We've been up here much too long..."

It's a sign of this summer's peculiar characteristics that I am already trying to wrap it up and tie a neat little bow around it, to define it so that I can file it away and be done with it. This summer, both for myself and for others I know, has not felt particularly "summery." What does that word call to mind? I don't know, exultation? Relaxation? Joy? Instead, it's been a time of significant and often difficult change. June alone was enough to make me long for the fall. It was a month of being overworked and underappreciated, both by employers and lovers. I guess this summer was (I will employ the past tense, though we're only just past the season's halfway point) a time in which I realized that certain relationships of mine, some of relatively longstanding, had just about run their course.

Summer 2004 was a time of burgeoning possibility. It was intense, to be sure -- reading the daily news anaysis of forged National Guard memos and swift boat veterans, staying up late to watch Red Sox games or to test my luck at some seedy bar where I tried to "seal the deal" with a string of interational one-night stands. I had more energy then, I guess. More stamina. Most of that summer's possibilities didn't really pan out, of course. John Kerry and I enjoyed a relationship about as long as the one I had with the cute but self-centered Polish guy who made out with me in a dress shop window. Only the Red Sox, formerly the most unreliable of my lovers, really came through.

This summer has been different. How? I'm inclined to say that lots of things have "soured" for me, but I think that puts too negative a spin on it. Perhaps the character of the season can best be captured if I enumerate a list of significant events that have occurred since Memorial Day.

This was the summer in which:
  • I drifted away from the Church (not totally but to a great extent).
  • I stopped talking to my family regularly every Sunday night.
  • I started to get a bit fed up with living in a communal house, with all kinds of short-term and long-term people coming and going.
  • I started to wish I had a real closet so that I could hang up my shirts and jackets without them wrinkling.
  • I developed a longing for real furniture and framed artwork on my walls, instead of the same posters I've had thumbtacked in every room I've lived in since college.
  • I became more and more surly at work, griped regularly about my salary, and decided that the appropriate word for my relationship with my employers was "exploitation."
  • I decided that it's about time I stopped being so satisfied doing only unpaid and socially-constructive theater projects with non-professional actors and got out there to promote my own writing and actually get it performed somewhere where someone important would take some notice of me.

In other words, it was a summer where I started down a road of increasing self-interest, where I became less abashed about the idea of promoting myslef, buying things for myself, possessing things solely and exclusively. In other words, I kinda started to think Ayn Rand may have had a point. I don't like to think that I'm too impressionable, but some of this development no doubt had to do with my two months of exposure to a would-be boyfriend we'll refer to as Helmut Lang. It was certainly he who planted in my brain the germ of an idea that I was "still living in a college dorm room," he who made me feel like I had not fully entered into adulthood until I bought a full set of my own kitchen accoutrements at Bed, Bath & Beyond. No matter that I'd been working for almost two years and supporting myself without parental assistance for four (something Mr. Lang has yet to achieve). No, it was about property.

I'm not totally convinced of this hypothesis, of course, and I hopefully never will be. But one does want to have one's most deeply held assumptions challenged once in a while. Sometimes people looking at you from outside (even callow, somewhat superficial people) can hit upon truths that you wouldn't see yourself. Helmut, to a certain extent, was a mirror for my own growing discontent.

In a few months, my life will be remarkably re-configured, one way or another. I will be living someplace else and (most likely) will be living with fewer people (maybe no one). Everything in my personal environment will therefore be mine, an expression of me, my choices, my interests, my purchases, alone. By December, I have pledged I will be actively moving on to another job -- either with the same employer or another one, but I will definitely be looking for a change. And my life, I suspect will become more about me advancing my own agenda a bit -- an agenda of doing for others, yes, but also of doing for myself.

How much of a change will this be? I don't know yet. Maybe all of these predictions are premature. Maybe Helmut and I got it all wrong and I'll end up living in a Buddhist monastery eating miso soup and wheatgrass. Maybe.

One other thing that happened this summer: I got a New York state driver's license. In other words, I really started to set down roots. I went and changed my identity.



I'm using this blog to advertise my own work. Check it out!

She's a private dick who's seen it all. He's a blonde bombshell waiting to explode. Even in this filthy, lonely city, some secrets just can't stay hidden...
rip me open
a new play by Kyle Jarrow,
with Desiree Burch & Michael Cyril Creighton
developed & directed by
Brian Mullin
Two wise-cracking, desperate souls investgate a strange case of threatened violence and psychosexual intrigue. Join four of the downtown theater scene's hottest young artists as they take you on a mysterious, hilarious journey into the dark heart of desire...
first public reading
tue. aug. 2 at 8 pm
at Ars Nova (511 W. 54th St.)
$5 admission