Yes, I'm in New York. When I used to visit it was usually on the Upper East Side. I would walk my own triangle: The Plaza Hotel, where I picture Scott and Zelda playing in the fountain, the treasure-laden Metropolitan Museum with its wall of Van Goghs, and The Dakota, where John Lennon died. I'd cut through Central Park for one leg of it, of course. But this year I have a son in school, so I'm down in Alphabet City near NYU. The neighborhood he's found is so alive it seems fecund. As recently as ten years ago it was the area Rent was written about, quite druggy and bombed-out, but it's student-gentrified now. It's spring and clothes have been shed as if it's August. My son and I laughed about the possibility of streetwalkers in the neighborhood, agreeing that with current dress it's impossible to tell.
Scotty is doing a Master of Fine Arts at the Tisch School in Writing Musical Theater, and he's absolutely in his element. Their first year they write a 20-minute play, so the nominal reason I came out was to see the play. Next year they write a full-length musical . . . two people to a team: Words (Book and lyrics) and Music (Composition). He has a musical keyboard in his room hooked up to a computer, a little MacIntosh that transcribes his playing to sheet music. Can you believe that? It's not perfect, but it gives him something to start from.
It may be because it's spring, or becasue he and ll his friends are getting professional actors to sing their short musicals, or because this neightborhood has parks in bloom, but NYC seems absolutely cheery. I don't remember the Upper East Side to ever have that happiness thing going. Smiling people from all over the country working so hard. I'm reading about the Harlem Renaissance as research for White Man's Blues, and that adds to the wonder of New Yrok for me. The racism of the city has either become much more subtle or diminished significantly--there's certainly less evidence of it with each trip I take here. Of course majority people always have a sunnier view of racism than minorities, perhaps it's that Also I'm spending less time on the Upper East Side, that could enter in as well, but here now this seems to be a textbook melting pot.
Causes Kevin Arnold Supports
Poetry Center San Jose, East Palo Alto Police Activities League (EPA PAL), Squaw Valley Community of Writers, Yale Writing Conference, Gold Rush Writers