The City of Dreams

Describe a location that means something to you and why.

I’ve been to New York once in my entire lifetime. I was six years old and my father had to travel there on a business meeting, taking the rest of us along. I’m not particularly skilled in recalling events from numerous years ago, so when I reflect on that trip, what I can remember most is this: there’s something about New York that lifts the spirits; that leaves the instant impression that anything in this day and age is possible. The way I see it, the city of New York accurately encompasses what it means to be young: hopeful and energetic and perfectly willing to believe in the magic of unimpeded optimism.

I have known that I was going to be a writer since I was first capable of forming coherent thoughts. I used to imagine stories for the ducks on my wallpaper while lying in my crib. I have also been told, since I was old enough to voice my desires, that I should not pursue a writing career, as I would not be able to find a substantial occupation for my craft. No, I should be a doctor or a lawyer or a therapist – professions that will always be in high demand in this modern world and will pay considerably more than writing.

As a hopeful writer, the idea of New York means so much more than dancing lights and Broadway shows and fancy apartment buildings. New York itself is a destination, as well as a beginning. It is where great writers are born. Willa Cather, E.E. Cummings, Joan Didion, Charles Ford, Ernest Hemingway, Arthur Miller, Edgar Allen Poe, J.D. Salinger, John Steinbeck, and Mark Twain – I envision them all walking the same streets, their struggles and accomplishments and experiences accumulating into the inspirations for their wonderful works. Being able to stand on the same street corner where Willa Cather possibly once waited for a friend, or order from the same pastry shop where J.D. Salinger might have sat reading the paper, or to gaze through the window of the laundromat where Joan Didion once cried when she realized that life wasn’t magical blissfulness – the very idea inspires in me a desire to disregard everything I have ever been told about what I cannot or should not do.

I have always known that I was going to be a writer and I have always known that there is no better place to become one than New York. In the city of dreams, inner creativity prospers, exceptional abilities are enhanced and we writers are encouraged to spill our words from the very depths of our being. I can only hope to someday write something that will alter someone’s life, as so many written works have transformed mine.

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