I don’t know how the hell I really did it, just wanting to do it badly enough and showing up again and again, but I did do it — alone, but with the enormous, very very generous help of so many — a random Turkish man I met on an Air Train out of JFK Airport late at night, a random Albanian worker (who is now a friend, true friend for life, Drita) who looked out of windshields through tough, crazy Albanian city and highway traffic and near collisions; to hugging Ana (a mother and father sick, alone in a small office helping people who are angry about lost and found bags); to that working kid who said “that’s nice” in NY about peace and cupcakes and saying thanks to a fellow worker; to that present I got from the grandmother and the sick, but going to do well Mom in Selvia, Thimi’s folks (thank you for cooking for me and allowing me to talk too sentimental about things that are serious and private, health, life and death)…
To do all this with no real big budget, no real organizational backing, no team, no big structure — yeah, let’s be transparent, no family, no grandfather giving you blue chip stock, no mom worrying over your eyes, your job, your worries, no Uncle to hook you up with a job after school — no complaints, I’m free — but still — from lugging your gear down to the street to jumping into vehicles on another continent — pure muscle and will and luck — thank you guys who helped.
Somebody told me don’t go overseas like a lamb, wandering around. But why not, if you do it with confidence and courageously and decently, why not. If you look them, if you look people in the eye and tell them what you want, if you make it that personal, I’m fine with that and most people are — they are, you just have to go and do it. Haters, what did I call them before hip hop gave me that tired tv language — they’ve always been around, I remember them since elementary school, but also people who looked out, were nice and I was nice back, they were always around,; there’s a lot of us out there.
Glad I get to do this, call myself a journalist. If you believe it and you’re straight and you keep yourself humble and able, I think it’s all possible, no matter who you are, how difficult or unlikely — I’m just gonna keep on trying like all you try, hang and be nice to regular people, because I’m regular people, no matter what I’m doing, what sucesss failure means (Lek, plata, dinero, genama, cash — it’s possible to do it without all that, harder, but possible) — what good is a free press if journalism is a hobby like fly-fishing, just to do on the side and only a few privleged get to do it good and in -depth.
I can’t sing, dance, play ball or earn money hanging cabinets or show up every day to do something I don’t like or care about and nobody’s recruiting journalists who have a poet’s eye or heart like crazy, nobody’s recruiting anybody for money any more it seems. But I only get 75, 90 years — why not try and be special and useful, see who comes to my funeral or who reads my articles. Thank you guys, good looking. Really thanks. Good night; I’m glad to be home in one piece, finally.