This blog is a love letter of sorts, but not the teenage-crush-on-a-celebrity kind like I had on Jami Gertz back in 1986. I never wrote to her. And, let’s face it, your celebrity status is more like Mickey Rourke’s had been those two decades before The Wrestler. But I believe, like him, you will return and will be appreciated, not merely for what you are, but for what you have overcome to get there.
I want to get back to you! Okay, no I’ve never actually lived there, but I’ve visited many times now and each time, from the moment I have to return to New York, I can’t stop thinking about you. Nearly every person I’ve told about my desire to relocate (from Vermont, Arizona, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, New York, and even from Michigan) has responded like this: “You want to move where?! You do realize that’s the most economically challenged state in the country? You do realize the economy is in the toilet right now? You want to move where?!” But maybe they just haven’t met the people who live and work there, not the wonderful people I have anyway. Maybe they haven’t seen the beauty up north: haven’t enjoyed the ski slopes or the wine trails or the dunes. Maybe they haven’t walked along the shores of a great lake which, even in winter, even when covered with ice, is magical. But I have. Maybe they haven’t heard about some of the revitalization efforts being made in Flint by everyday people. But I have.
But, Michigan, I need to be up front with you. I want, more than anything, to move there . . . because I love someone who lives there. And it’s not the sort of get-away-to-the-beach-for-a-week-with-the-guys-after-high-school-graduation-meet-her-in-the-sun-as-she-squeals-and-leaps-away-from-a-school-of-beached-jellyfish sort of love where you spend every day talking about opening up a flip-flop shop together. It’s not the college junior-year-abroad-meet-her-beneath-the-Eiffel-Tower-with-the-plump-silver-moon-overhead-and-your-name-thick-on-her-tongue-and-all-that-exotic-foreignness-taking-your-breath-away-for-a-semester sort of love. It’s the slow burn kind, the been-getting-to-know-her-over-time-years-becoming-best-friends-brush-against-her-doing-dishes-sun-in-the-soul-can’t-get-enough-of-her-smile-want-to-be-with-her-every-day kind of love. I want you to know, Michigan, that I love you because I love her, not the other way around. But the things she has shown me, the way she loves you, seeing you through her eyes, it’s impossible for me not to feel the way I do.
This blog is my love letter to you. It's a catalogue of my attempt to find a job, to move out there and be with you, to find my way back to her.