In 2004 Jason Griffin took a trip up to New York to visit a friend. I can’t remember if this was his first time going or not, but I do know this was the trip that set his sights on moving there. Of course, it also motivated him to try to convince me to move as well, though I had only been one time, to Harlem, to visit some family members and that wasn’t really what I would call a “visit.”
We went from car to building door to elevator to door to couch back to door back to elevator back to building door back to car and back home. I don’t remember anything about that trip except thinking about how a grown woman and her daughter could live in such a small space. Little did I know…
Anyway, when Jason got back from that trip, he brought me a gift. That’s how you know we didn’t know nothing about NYC, anytime you bring folks souvenirs home. Hahaha. The gift he got me I stored at my mom’s house for years and just last weekend I found it, and it’s amazing.
But more importantly are these:
Fortune cookies from his first grimy Chinese meal, a theme that we used in our book SELF which we were in the midst of working on at the time. Notice the one that says, “Where there is will, there is way.” Talk about foresight. We were about experience one of the most challenging and exciting times of our lives. And our will would be the very thing to propel us. That and our friendship.
It’s amazing how books, when given with purpose and thoughtfulness can really freeze moments in time, much like photos. The collection of poetry itself, though rare and filled with incredible work seems even more valuable due to why it was given. Jason was trying to inspire me to move. Not just to New York, but just to move forward so that my dreams can become tangible, tactile like used, dusty, vintage books.