I was somewhere south of Houston and walking down by the shops and looking through the windows at clothes I could never afford. I was in my late 20’s at the time. The weather was closing in on the end of the warmer months. Autumn had just begin and the change in season was just underway.
It was me and the girl I dated at the time. There were two others with us and neither of them were people I liked. But yet, of course, there they were, with us, and walking along, talking loud about money and the life they lived.
I have always loved the downtown scene. I loved the diversity of the crowd and thought about what it must be like to live there in a loft and write full-time about life and all the other things that run through my head.
I saw myself in a place with high walls and tall windows with wood flooring, an undressed, open ceiling, a little studio to write, a place to sleep, and with a place to eat. I could see the Soho view from my windows and be part of this place in a way, which I have only thought about in fiction.
There were times when I was out with the crowd and decided to break away from them and their social snobbery. I needed to get away from them and their plastic little lives.
So in an effort to improve, I would walk the streets of New York City. I would listen to the sounds. I would watch people walk and notice couples that held hands—meanwhile, I would watch them and wonder what their lives must be like. I would wonder what Thanksgiving Dinner might be like at their place or if they went out of town to someplace else.
I remember an evening, sitting at an outside table at a restaurant that was south of 14th Street where was large, heavyset, transvestite rode around on her antique bicycle and sung out loud for the whole world to hear. It wasn’t bad. Her voice, I mean. People applauded too.
I think of how many people there are in Manhattan. I think about how many stories there are. Some are love stories. Some are common tragedies and others are less common and more extraordinary. I think about what it would be like to sit with a small group of people, just to learn about their lives, and then I could detail them in print.
Same as an artist would paint their portrait, I have this idea of creating a focus group, which would be set up of different people from different places, and somehow, they all ended up here in N.Y.C. I could give them a voice. Or, I could give their voice a face and maybe this way, we wouldn’t be such strangers anymore
(if that makes sense)
I used to walk to pass a few theaters on my way home from work. I used to pass where they showed the play, “Rent.”
I was never quite sure about the real story behind the scenes. But I heard the writer died the day before the play opened. I think about the risks he took. I think of all he must have endured just to get his manuscript together. I think of how he missed opening night and then I say to myself, “I don’t want that to happen to me.”
Sometimes, I stand in the middle of Midtown, Manhattan. I look around and see my untold story. I think about the people who dare to live and the others that never dare at all.
Dare it all, I say.
At least one dare a day
One day, whether it happens on Broadway, off Broadway, or in whichever form it takes place, on behalf of a man named Jonathon Larson who passed away due to Marfan Syndrome the day before his opening night, I swear, I owe it to myself to make my debut. And I will
I’m not sure if asked now what Mr. Larson might have done differently. I’m not sure if he knows what a success he was or if in some way, he was there when the curtain went up . I’d like to believe he was though. And with all my heart, I’d like to thank him for inspiring me.
Sleep well, sir
You created so much more than you will ever know