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the next room.

the first washington heights apt
washington heights apartment, circa 2009-10

i lived in the dorms my first two years at school. in a building connected to juilliard, right there in the heart of lincoln center. my first year space was a lofted bed over a desk with a roommate who studied the violin under itzhack perlman, haled from greece, and didn't believe in bull-shit. i adored her. second year brought a slightly larger room and with it a girl who believed she had been maria callas in a previous life...okay.

in my third year i moved off campus. to an apartment in a renovated brown stone on 104th. i'll never forget that space: the light wood floors, my bedroom's two windows on opposing walls, and the rumble of the subway and the deep call of nearby church bells.

oh the sense of space and promise of freedom that apartment afforded!

but third year was hard. and the apartment became home to a sadness that pressed in on my chest--threatened my very breath. so when another apartment--on the same floor, in the same building--opened up and it had a separate kitchen and a more conventional living room, i emptied my hopes into the space.

and we moved. next door.

and i willed that this would be a place in which life would improve.

i remember very little of that next-door apartment. remember very little of my fourth year, really.

after school ended i put my things in storage, visited home for several weeks, and then spent two months living on the top floor of my aunt and uncle's house in montclair. and i started the slow trudge back to  self.  i gave thanks each morning for the worn floors and slanted ceiling and sense of home.

and after just a few months i returned to the city, lived on 80th--the beating heart of the upper west--sandwiched between parks, surrounded by restaurants. and when spring came that year ushering in april's showers i escaped morning after morning to central park where, with not another soul in sight, i imagined myself on a roman holiday, traversing the gardens at the villa borghese.

and then before long, after realizing i had hardly a cent to my name, i moved north. to washington heights--where the rent was low and the A train was long. and i fell in love. and then out of love. and then in love again.

and so the pattern continued, tumbling on, but allowing me to make a home.

and i lived in one apartment now followed by another.

and another year is done. and i'm still here. sitting in my reading chair, window open, staring into the enclosed courtyard dreaming of the move that's just two days away: same apartment, different room.

and oh how i've lusted after that room for a year now! lusted after its two windows and french doors and view of the hudson. dreamt of placing my desk just so that i might wake in the morning, brew my coffee, sit at my workspace, breathe in the water, and set about writing the next great american novel.

you want to know what i've learned--what i've learned from all the different spaces in all the different years: life hardly ever turns out as you thought it might, hoped it would. but it does get better. and failure proves fertile ground for whatever follows.

i don't know what will unfold in this next space. perhaps nothing. perhaps everything.

but i do know this. i'm no longer emptying my hopes into a new space. not casting out a desperate attempt for change. i'm simply moving my things. just down the hall. and looking forward to the stories its walls will tell.


Ana* said...

Megan, this is such a beautiful wise post. I enjoyed reading every word and how you grew with each move. I am sure the next room will tell great stories, stories that we all can't wait to hear.

becky said...

Oh, this is beautiful---this is outstanding! So wonderfully written and so, so wise. I hope the new space treats you well---I hope it gives you great stories---although I hope for it, I know it will. Whatever those four walls throw at you, I know you will cope. You will pin it to yourself as a badge of progress---because you are always doing that: you are always a symbol of progression, resilience and bravery. You are one to be admired, over and over again.

Robby Spratt said...

I love this narrative! It makes me want to try the same thing and tell the story of my adult life from the perspective of the different places I have lived. This is fantastic stuff! Thanks Meg. :)

Sonja said...

I think normally I see really long posts on blogs and it scares me, cause blogs are my quick fix, BUT when I come to yours I hope for long posts! the longer the better. Seriously!
The new room you're moving into sounds dreamy!
So does NEw York City in general actually :o)

Erin said...

sometimes moving your things and yourself just a space away makes all the difference -- in the way the sun shines upon you as you wake; in the way you watch the world outside your window; in the way you hang your clothes in the closet. sometimes i move the furniture in our home just to make the old feel new again, and somehow it helps me collect my thoughts and emotions a little more easily. and yes, like gets better all the time. :)

Our Youth said...

This is such a pretty room.
Well, good luck with your new flat. I know how moving just too well.

Jenni Austria Germany said...

"perhaps nothing. perhaps everything."


Erin {pughs' news} said...

This is so beautifully written. I think the new room with its two windows and its french doors and view of the Hudson sounds marvellous.

Perhaps nothing. But perhaps EVERYTHING. My fingers are crossed for the second.

Katie Anderson said...

I know that I too am guilty of putting impossible expectations onto new spaces. Still, here's to hoping that your new room will one day be associated with beautiful memories.

::: Wild lola/Naia said...

you are a nomadic woman, it seems you found your own tribe and spirit in NY for now. Spaces are just spaces, it depends on us to have nothing or everything on them, but I´m sure you will find your "home".
-it´s nice to read you memories-

Cinzia In Italia said...

I understand this post so well. It's funny because just the other day I sat down to write about my nomadic lifestyle and how I have moved every year since I was 17, I am now 26. Often my memories and feelings aren't tied to seasons or even dates, but to my walls, my surroundings. Anytime I move I always try to see it as a new beginning, almost as a way to escape- if things went wrong.

Thank you for this post!

Kate said...

holy moly, i want to live in your words.
i definitely would snatch up your next great american novel. in an instant.
as the first comment says, this is such a wise post.

Ms. Chapatti said...

how do you manage to write something so simple soo incredibly beautifully.
I hope the new space helps you pour every bit of your beautiful words into that novel :)

Miss Wendy said...

I have no words.....except my gosh I wish we were best friends. You are amazing and your words are always so helpful and life affirming. Uplifting. So awesome. I need more of that in my life.

Tucker said...

whenever you write your first novel. i'm buying lots. one for me and one for all my friends.

it really does rarely turn out the way you think it will ... but Gods plans are always way better than our own i think.

i went through a really tough junior year in college too ... and its funny how i remember my room and how i used it as a little retreat.

hope this next room is everything you hope for annnnd a lot more (:

Colleen said...


I would read a book that you wrote in a heartbeat. In fact, I hope you do write one. I've always wanted to be an author and just started the editing process for my first novel. I'm seventeen. I never thought it would happen, but when you get an idea, run with it an never look back.

Best wishes.

Allie said...

If your novel will be written like the above post, then I will buy many. I love how honest and true everything you wrote is. Beautiful.

Thanks for sharing.

Monica said...

I just wanted to say thank you for this: "life hardly ever turns out as you thought it might, hoped it would. but it does get better. and failure proves fertile ground for whatever follows."

The Many Colours of Happiness said...

You are such a wonderful writer. I felt like this when I got sick. I wanted to go on exchange, because I couldn't help blaming the city for everything that had gone wrong.
I love your outlook, it's so wonderful

Kate said...

This is so beautiful and insightful. It's truly amazing how you can look back at your life like that and then look towards the future.

viktorija said...

So beautifully written. You made me feel as if I was there.

Jo said...

I love this! And, I am excited for you. Wishing you many, many happy stories.

Brooke said...

i'm so thankful for this writing.

Paula said...

So beautifully written! :)

Kaylan said...

This is so touching, so true. We can't depend on a person, a city, or even an apartment to shape our happiness or to make our dreams come true. We need to take each day as it comes, the good, the bad, the ugly and just breathe and be happy we're alive. You seem to be doing just that.

Please make your new space the author's nest you've been craving and get to writing that novel, because we're waiting for it (patiently, I might add).


Jenni @ Story of My Life said...

Reading about your life in NYC literally makes me want to cry sometimes... do you know how lucky you are? Maybe I would feel differently if I were actually there and experiencing what it's REALLY like (vs what I imagine it to be), but living there, in a tiny little apartment with sunlight flooding in, sitting at a desk beside a window, is my GREATEST DREAM. I will die a happy lady if I can have that little place someday.

Hope you fall in love with your new apartment, and I can't wait to read all about it. :)

katielizabethawkes said...

these words are beautiful. write more of them.

Jennifer M. said...

Your apartment is so cute! I wish I lived in NYC. It seems like such a creative and inspiring place. I know you'll have a great year in your new room!