19 March 2008

Back to New Orleans

So I'm on my way back to New Orleans. On my way out of Mississippi.
I take with me a short list of fondly remembered magical days. A short list of heartbreaking episodes that taught me important lessons. A short, cherished list of people I met here who I will never forget (and a shorter sublist of people I hope will never forget me...).
Even with my lists, I am more and more convinced that coming to Mississippi was a mistake. This is not to say I should not have come -- if I hadn't come I would not have my short lists. And this experience, like all experiences, helped make me who I am today.
It is a mistake in the way that during a performance I discover that a particular turn of phrase or chord progression in a new composition "doesn't work." Through the mistake I discover a better choice. My life is a work in progress, a development project, a poem unfolding. I'm not reaching for an eraser: I'm crossing out a few words, editing a few line breaks, fine tuning the syntax.
A friend once told me that it takes two years to really and truly become a settled resident of a place. I spent 14 months in New Orleans and 15 months in Gulfport. If my friend's calculation is right, I am in my 7th year of nomadic sojourn; I'm still homeless.
But I love New Orleans and, in my heart, this move feels like going home. I look forward to celebrating a two-year anniversary there.