I don’t like going to the North Side of Pittsburgh.
If you live over there and I haven’t visited for a while, I suppose I need to come clean. I feel weird when I’m over there. Confused and saddened. Maybe you have a place like this that you can’t go back to because it feels weird.
Apart from the many nights pre-rehab that I spent over there making a drunken drugged fool of myself, the North Side is where I decided to go when I decided to go back to school. To CCAC. Our community college. When I talked to the lady on the phone about returning to school, she suggested that, at my age, I might wanna just do online schooling or go to the campus closer to my home in Homewood. But, I knew and told her that, if I didn’t have to get up early and be somewhere across town, if I didn’t have to travel, I knew I could never make it work. I know myself. If I get bored or too comfortable, it’s all over. So, I went to CCAC on the North Side. And I remember showing up the first day fresh out of the joint wondering what in the hell I was doing so late in life trying to “better myself”. But, I went. I made a few friends. I studied hard. They made me do maths.
The one friend that I made was my advisor, Evelyn Kitchens-Stephens. A former dancer and motivational speaker (to me anyway) who used such cheers as “Boy, shut up and do it!” and “Just do what I say!” and her favorite “Stop whining”. I liked her and she liked me. I liked the photos on her walls of when she was a ballerina and she liked my writing and she told me before I left for the summer that I should attend Chatham University which had never occurred to me. “Go someplace where they’ll notice you.”, she said. She said she used to work there and they would help foster my writing and she was right and when I returned to tell her that I’d gotten in, her office walls were bare and she was no longer there. The receptionist had to tell me.
So, I don’t like going to the North Side.
It’s one of those places that feels like a ghost of my former self is walking around haunting the place. It makes the new me uncomfortable. Like if the two me’s were to meet up, there would be a rip in the space/time continuum. So, I don’t go there. It makes me melancholy.
When I got out of rehab I didn’t know what I was gonna do, so I just wrote and, this year, what I hope is my first book is being published by a respectable publisher and I’ve been fortunate enough to be published in some incredible places since I started writing. I’ve been fortunate enough to be asked to perform, win the Moth, speak on panels, lecture a class at Pitt and I’d like to think I have some sort of future even though I have no idea what it is. I’d like to teach. Maybe move to Provence and do sex with you in front of bay windows covered in Spanish moss. But, right now, I just want to graduate.
This is my last semester at Chatham before I enter the unknown. I hope to get a fellowship somewhere and I will whore myself out to the highest bidder. But, I want to graduate. And, as I crunch the numbers this evening, it just ain’t adding up even with the three jobs. That shit ‘spensive.
Last year, I started a GoFundMe on July 11th and the response was well beyond anything that I could have ever dreamed. Thank You. But, now I’m asking for the Final Push. Let’s get this the hell over wish, shall we and I promise that this won’t be an annual thing. I’ve written a lot on Facebook and I’ve made a lot of connections that way and whatever you can spare would be appreciated. I’ll say it again like I said it last year. You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. And, also you know pride is not an issue. You saw me in that romper. Thank You.
P.S. Also, Maya needs nip. She hooked.