The view from my apartment windows is fogged. “With temperatures below zero and the heater on seventy-two degrees in here, it is inevitable,” I turn to Blaze.
I set the oven to three hundred fifty degrees and take a quick glance on the recipe. I remove the vegetables from the sink and wipe my fingers dry on my white apron.
Blaze stands still besides me. I quickly place the casserole I just filled with cold water on the stove. “I chop the squash in uneven squares” once more, I turn to Blaze who seems to understand.
“Aren’t you ready yet?” my brother walks into the kitchen. I mumble “sorry” and rush to my bedroom. Today we are visiting Soho, his favorite neighborhood in Lower Manhattan.
“Soho was an artists’ hub once, an affordable place to live. When the area got developed, artists were forced to leave” my brother shares as we walk through the area.
Soho has an interesting architecture and a plethora of boutiques. The narrow streets preserve the old-fashioned charm, as well as the roads that are made out of brick. We agree to walk towards Angelica, the movie theater that supports Independent filmmakers.
As we walk silently side by side, I think to myself that I lived in many parts of the world and Soho seems like any other neighborhood. I grew up in the old city of Limassol, most of the housing was built in the early eighteen hundreds. Growing up in my neighborhood in the late eighties, it was an adventure for us kids. A few old houses were abandoned and some got demolished. Years went by before construction projects replaced the fields with apartment complexes. I remember it was safe to play with my friends out in the streets. A lot of times we explored the abandoned homes and played hide and seek in the space around them.
A couple blocks my way, they stop right in front of me, it is a gallery entrance. “Want to check what’s in here?” I ask my brother. He nods in agreement. It is the exhibit of Scott’s Cohen’s Unfinished Ballad.
Large still frames are printed on Japanese paper and motion picture projections of still life in Black and White, convey to me an emotion of peaceful gentleness. The compositional themes and the candlelight promote a feeling of comfort throughout the gallery space.
The exhibit occupies three floors. A large narrow staircase leads to the second and third floor. The artist is there on the second floor, a rare chance to meet him in person. Without introducing myself, I express my admiration for his show and want to know more about his creative process. I thank him for his time and proceed to view the exhibit on the third floor.
“I did not ask the artist how he manages to balance art and life”, I turn to my brother. He agrees to wait for me and I walk back to the second floor. Thankfully the artist is still there, I engage in brief but meaningful conversation one more time. “I came back because I need to ask you how you cope with life and pursue your art-making. I am a practicing filmmaker and I find it extremely difficult sometimes to remain disciplined and pursue this”. “It is hard,” the artist says, “it is really-really hard. You’ll have to find your own way and don’t be afraid”.
The memories of my past are fogged, fogged like the windows of my temporary home in mid-town Manhattan. I chose this life-style and I am content. Often scary at times, to continue living with uncertainty, nevertheless, I am committed fully to the life of my own making.