I’m only just back from an absolutely lovely visit to New York, and I’m already packing for the next trip into a deep, dark, snowy wood where I’ll be incommunicado for a few days. BUT, I wanted to give a brief run-down of my NYC trip, because it was lovely and inspiring and productive. Here is a list, in no particular order of what I did:
1. Took the q-101 from Queens into Manhattan. Sat next to this guy. Except his jumpsuit was purple velour with pale blue piping. Also he had a bit of a belly. Okay, fine, he looked nothing like this guy, but this picture is so SWEET that I had to include it.
2. Made it to the office of one Genevieve Valentine, who took one look at my wan, post-traveling wobbliness and ordered me some quesadillas STAT. (and they were delicious).
4. Genevieve’s reading at the KGB bar.
She did a brilliant job reading from a particularly heartbreaking and wrenching story that was set in the same universe as her novel, Mechanique, A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti.
5. Since it was my job to hand out raffle to people who came in (and by “hand out” I mean shove into their hands whether they wanted them or not (sidenote: they all did. But I was particularly bossy)) I pretty much met and chatted with every single person in the bar. Even the people who just wandered in by mistake. Which meant that I had the chance to chat up a FRICK LOT OF WRITERS. Which was fun, and something that I don’t usually get to do.
6. MOAR FOOD.
7. Bank Street Awards followed by a visit to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Which was so stunningly beautiful that I got teary-eyed and trembly.
8. Met the AMAZING LADY who first bought my book. Nancy Conescu – woman of grace, talent, beauty and spirit. She’s no longer my editor, as she’s gone off to be some sort of fancy executive editor at Penguin (also, I think she’s well on her way to becoming Empress of Publishing, and will one day rule us all with benevolence), but it was wonderful to meet her in person at last. She’s AWESOME.
9. Saw circus performers in a warehouse in Brooklyn, performing all sorts of aerialist stunts with no nets and sometimes hovering above the audience. They’re called The Sky Box, and they are AMAZING.
And so on. Insanely beautiful people doing insanely beautiful things with their bodies, and yes, I’ll admit it, I *may* have forgotten I was a married woman for a little bit. Pearls were clutched. Face was fanned. Heart palpitated. If any of you are near NYC at the time of their monthly variety shows, I absolutely insist that you go. Best ten bucks I ever spent.
10. LITTLE, BROWN!!!!! I had an absolutely amazing lunch with my new editor – the lovely and talented Julie Scheina – and got to pick her brain endlessly about the book that’s coming out and the book that she and I will work on together. And she is RIDICULOUSLY SMART! And she gets my work on a profound and intuitive level, which makes me very, very happy. Plus, I got to meet the rest of the LB crew – my publicist, the guy who designed my book cover, a bunch of other editors, the library ladies, and what have you. What a bunch of total smarty-pantses! (and lucky me to have the chance to work with the lot of them)
12. Bought a dress.
13. Discovered that my awesome black boots do not work well on the long blocks of Manhattan.
14. Bought bandaids.
15. Bought a second pack of bandaids.
16. Went to the Cloisters. And it was stunning – not only for the art and the architecture, which were truly amazing, but for the audacity of the project from the beginning. Essentially, the architect of the building – being funded by Rockefeller, used architectural elements from ruined cathedrals and monasteries in France, Spain and Germany (typically buying them off some farmer who saw them as nothing more than a pile of old stones and carting them all the way over to New York), reshaped the pieces into a new building inspired by the old designs. It’s a preservationist’s nightmare and so very typical of the Gilded Age – because if you were wealthy enough, all you had to do was think a thing up, and you could make it happen with total impunity.
17. MOAR FOOD!
18. The Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Not much was growing, but the greenhouses alone were worth the price of admission. And the scent of the just-opening magnolias was the sexiest thing I’ve ever inhaled.
I have more to say about this trip, but alas, I must pack. The forest awaits! There will be bears, I am sure. And cougars. And trolls and elves and fauns straining under the weight of the parcels, led by the snowy light of a lamp post in the deep, dark, wood.