Small Poet in the Big City


What do you get when you drop a college graduate with a knack for noticing the little things into New York City with an internship, a too-small savings account, and a freelance job? Me. You get me.

Today, my site notified me that I haven’t written here since August. AUGUST. And I figure it’s about time I get back into it and tell y’all about my adventures since then. My life has undergone violent & beautiful changes in the last seven months, and I’ve learned a lot about myself and the world around me in that time. Through many struggles and a handful of triumphs, I now find myself living with some relatives in Poughkeepsie NY, and commuting to The Big Apple twice a week to work an unpaid internship at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. At the same time, I’m working as a barista at my local Barnes & Noble, where I sit on most of my days off anyway.

I get to work with some great people at DGLM, people who have put some amazing literature into the world. I couldn’t be more excited to be able to see that process happening in front of me. As a person who loves to bring new worlds to people through writing, being able to interact with the people who make that happen is a truly amazing experience for me. However, working without pay is another story (broke as shit). It’s tough to get by, but I’m grateful for the chance to catch up to that dream I’ve had for such a long time.

The dream, since age 12, has been living in the world of Sex & the City. The bright lights, the cool underground clubs, and money to afford it all. I’ve since learned a little bit more about the reality that New York City offers to its survivors. There’s a sense of hurry around every person I see, like if they don’t  walk fast enough they’ll disappear. The advice that my uncle offered before I left–keep your head down and your hands in their pockets–follows me like a ghost. With so much to see, how could I possibly keep my head down? The city shimmers, it reaches up past the fog that hovers over the streets like maybe it has a message for the sky.

I’ve come to realize that maybe I have too much heart to ground myself in this city. Sometimes I wish I could stop every person I cross on the street and tell them to look at the little birds coming out to greet spring, or the budding magnolias in the park. I’ve spent train rides mourning the young people who ask for spare change in subways, or feeling guilty for choosing my lunch over theirs. I miss the rolling hills that welcome me home; the stairs that tap their goodbyes one too many times across my feet.

New York is big, and fast, and it doesn’t slow down for any one twenty-something trying to figure it out. I respect that, and beyond anything, I want to thank New York for teaching me that lesson. I’ll be here for a little while longer, but I can’t shake the feeling that somewhere else is waiting for me.

In the end, I’m learning that adventure isn’t always what you expect it to be. I’ve learned more about myself in three months here than I could have in eight spent at home. I don’t know where I’ll go or what I’ll learn next while I’m here, but I hope to keep discovering and re-discovering myself endlessly while it lasts. The city’s not done with me yet, and I’m certainly not done making my way. I promise it won’t be long until I come back with more words to offer. Until next time, dear readers.