Hey Seattle friends...so, um…I’m leaving!
This is so big and weird for me I’m not sure how to share the news. For most of you a simple “Bye!” would probably suffice, but this means a lot to me and I feel a need to write about it.
I’ve lived in Seattle almost 13 years. I’ve explored a lot of other cities, and while they all have their own character, I haven’t found anything so different that it seemed worth uprooting my life and leaving all my people. Despite the worrying path Seattle is on with its runaway growth and aggressive homogenization, this is still my city. But what I’ve been realizing is…I don’t want to live in a city anymore. Any city.
I’m still a believer in the city concept, the promise of concentrated culture and large scale civic endeavor. I think it’s important to be challenged and have new and diverse experiences on the bleeding edge of life. But when you’ve been chasing that same energy for 13 years, is that still new and diverse? What about the other frequencies of experience? What about silence and stillness, solitude and reflection, the solemn beauty of forests and water? What about the inner world? What about dreams and fantasies and long, deep thoughts, those paths you have to walk slowly to explore?
I find these subtle frequencies hard to hear in the city. I find my time and attention spread too thin as I bounce between dozens of tiny social pods scattered across a sprawling, traffic-clogged obstacle course. I’m overstimulated and overwhelmed by the endless buffet of activity. Options become obligations. Fun becomes a job and therefore self-canceling. My brain is so overcharged with input that I can’t concentrate or contemplate, I can only skim. I’d love to sit and get lost in this book but what if and should I and this and that and them!!!!
I don’t believe in walling myself off from society, but I feel like I’ve absorbed enough of its energy to last a while. I need to withdraw into a simple space where I can let it trickle out into art. I want to write all these stories floating around my head. I want to make music again. These are the things that give me a reason to wake up, and I’ve been running away from them. My energies have been siphoned off by the reflexive pursuit of entertainment, indulgence, and social compulsions. I’ve been spending so little of my time on the things that matter the most to me, and I’m mad as hell about it.
So…I’m moving to Orcas Island! I just bought a secluded cabin on a hillside overlooking the Salish Sea. It’s a quick drive to Doe Bay Resort, where I’ll drop in once a week for a meal and some human warmth, but this will be a different kind of life: smaller, slower, solitary and focused, 120 miles removed from that roaring vortex of appetite and anxiety.
I don’t hate the city. These 13 years have had plenty of beauty in them. I’ve shared some amazing times with some amazing people and I’m grateful for all of them. I just need a change.
I may become a mystic hermit but I will occasionally remove the birds from my beard. At least once a month I’ll come back to the city and spend a few days reconnecting with the outside world. And I hope to lure some of you out to the island now and then for a visit. I think it’s the most beautiful place in Washington and I still can’t believe I get to live there. I’ve moved over 30 times in my life and never felt so hopeful about a new chapter.
So goodbye for now, city friends! I wish you best of luck in the urban adventure. I’m trying something new…but we’ll share stories soon.