Blog: "Breaking Up With New York" (2010-2017)

After ten years of running the non-profit Latin American Workshop in New York City (1990-2000), I published my first CD of cover songs in Spanish, "La Mecánica del Amor", with guitarist, composer, and producer Papo Gely. (Available for download on Amazon).

Then, the 9/11 attacks happened and it felt like time to leave the city. I went on the road with singer-songwriter Aaron Gilmartin (www.aarongilmartin.com). A couple of gigs in St. Moritz and Copenhagen turned into a four-year tour as a guitar-vocal duo in Europe. The Gilmartin-Potter Band lived in Berlin and then in Cologne and we performed throughout Germany, as well as in Denmark, Switzerland, France, and Norway. It was the best of times and the worst of times — but mostly the best, an unforgettable experience. The band broke up like bands always do, but not before we recorded an album of our original songs in Cologne Germany: "Just Before Rising" (Available on Amazon and CD Baby).

Back home in Harlem, I went back to making a living as a Spanish teacher. Soon enough, however, I started to reassess the wisdom of remaining in New York City. Where I was going and why was I there? Like many New Yorkers, my identity was defined and inspired by the great city I lived in. I had been rooted there since I graduated from college. I had a 212 area code. I had enjoyed opportunities to meet and work with marvelous artists: Philip Glass, David Byrne, David Soldier, Tico Da Costa, Pete Seeger, and more. It seemed impossible that I should leave the one-bedroom I owned in West Harlem, my tiny shard of the Manhattan rock. And yet the golden carrot always dangled just beyond my reach.

Then I fell in love with the man who would take me for the last time across the George Washington Bridge, westward and away from New York City. And towards being a writer.

In the turmoil of this period, "Breaking Up With New York" was born. The blog documents my process of returning to writing prose and struggling to find out who I was, perhaps for the first time. I had journaled obsessively since I was 10 and I was a lifetime reader who grew up in my mother's bookstore (Title Page Books, Rosemont, PA). I'd always had the itch to become a "real" writer, to write things I would want to read. The blog gave me the practice and confidence I needed to start submitting my first essays to publications and, finally, to apply to the MFA program at Sewanee: The University of the South.

I treasure "Breaking Up With New York" with all its flaws as a document of a defining time in my life. It helped me to become the writer I am today — and the writer I may yet become.

— D.P. Snyder