"It was all a dream!" I grew up on the death of gangster rap, rock and roll suicide heros,


At age 17 I can't say exactly where I got the idea about going to New York and being a bike-riding writer, but it had to have been TV. The Ninja Turtles maybe? I grew up all through the 90's, so tv and movies was our outside world in a small town. Part of this New York idea was that I'd be dodging car doors as I cruised down busy streets and would inevitably catch a few along the way. I grew up in a town of now 6001 (I know, the 1 is comical to me, too), and riding bikes there, which I did all through my youth, just didn't present the same kind of obstacles. There was a mystique that drew me to this New York idea though. That was what I thought I wanted to do. Well that was just an idea. I had verbalized it during my junior year of high school, saying then that I wanted to be a "photojournalist," never actually looking up what exactly that meant, but I took it to be someone who takes photos and tells stories, or perhaps takes photos that tell stories. It was 2004 when I graduated in Trenton, Missouri, and it was May (graduation season) 2017 that I finally touched down at La Guardia Airport. I'm so glad that I waited until 2017... There's 3 main intrinsic values that this trip cemented in my understanding. They'll make most sense after all the story telling, so find them later in the entry.

I'm being forced to look at myself, presently and previously, to write this entry. Who I was then.. at 17 I was almost 10 years into a life of depression and and habitually contemplating my mortality.. The closest thing I had to a father was behind the sound waves of my boombox, mostly rap. I&#x