My dad was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York; my mom in a small farm town in western Ohio; I was born and raised in suburban Washington D.C.; I’ve lived in northern Illinois for a decade and a half. I’m a blend of east coast Italian and midwest German, and I’ve felt that merger keenly my entire life, mostly geographically. The east coast is in my marrow. I’ve visited, lived and worked in New York for months-long stretches during the last decade, mostly while writing Sweat: The Story of the Fleshtones, America's Garage Band. From my past I recall day-long Italian Thanksgiving dinners at my uncles’ homes in Brooklyn and Queens, and visits with my family into Manhattan, and because my attachment to the city is personal and familial, my stays there feel oddly like home. In "Reflections on Subletting," New Yorker Phillip Lopate writes of a curious homesickness he would experience when visiting his native town: "I am homesick precisely because I have come home, but not to any house of mine." I’m not home here in a literal sense, though in a figurative way, it feels as if I am. I bring the solace and quiet and space of my midwest college town with me, and they bump up against NYC’s noise and chaos.
The boundary between home and where one visits might blur, but it's always there, keeping us rooted and wandering at once. William Hazlitt: “I would like to spend my whole life traveling, if I could borrow another life to spend at home."