I have moved to Brooklyn, where I’m living in a beautiful, historic home in the unique neighborhood of Prospect Park South. The house was built in 1903, and in 1997 the New York Times real estate section devoted an entire article to it, though sadly the photographs are no longer up (here’s one). The owner, Gloria Fischer, is a wonderful presence; she’s in her 70s but just as on-the-go as I am, which is really saying something. I’m taking care of her labradoodle, Grover, and she also has two birds, one of whom is a talking parrot named Latke. I can’t get over how much higher the quality of food is in this neighborhood than both Astoria and the West Village, where I’ve previously lived in NY.
I busted my knee up so badly on the way up the walk when bringing in one of my suitcases on the day I moved in that it resulted in my first trip to the emergency room in my entire life. Mitsu says this is yet another reminder to be more careful when things are going well. The house is now christened in blood, and I’m healing up well.
I got a lot of great feedback on my draft Statement, namely that it’s too long and personal, which I already knew. The new draft is under way.
I have been talking with Heather Anne and Mitsu about their startup, The Lived Body, which I’m really excited to help out with in any way I can. It’s not just that I’m excited about the project, though it really is one of the most exciting projects I’ve ever heard of, and it could one day totally change the way both you and I live our lives. It’s also that I’m excited (yes, now, in 2010) about the whole idea of startups.
I feel like this should have always been obvious to me, that there are smart, motivated people out there starting their own companies, building things, making things happen, doing work not because they want to get paid but because they want to give something to the world. But it actually took me a very long time to approach work in this way. This is the same issue I was hinting at in my statement. For such a long time, I was in the lab, doing science, writing papers, having some success, etc, but I always coded it as “my job,” something I was only doing in order to finish my BA, or in order to afford to live in the Village, or in order to please my boss or my family or someone else. I almost always completely refused to admit that I actually enjoyed my work, or that it was in any way offered as a gift to others. Taking this year off and coming back, and being so very, very glad to be back, makes me realize that most of that was just a story I told myself, and under there I actually do have the intrinsic motivation I always felt that I lacked. So it is with Heather Anne and Mitsu, who are both such brilliant people. The very fact that this can even happen, that like-minded and talented folks can find each other, often from far-off places, connect, and collaborate, with real results that benefit society at large, is such a miracle. It gives me hope for us all, even in dark times.