It’s official. I’m a Big Apple virgin no more. Hubby and I
made the trek north last week. I have a small section in my second book that is
set in the city, and I just wasn’t entirely comfortable relying on friends and
the Internet to give me the details I needed. There were two spots in
particular that I needed to “see”, but the most important aspect of this
research was the sensory experience.
I needed to feel the city, to flow with its unique rhythms.
Surprisingly, we managed to accomplish that. New York very kindly gave me every
bit of detail I was looking for. Sight, scent, texture, noise, beauty, snow,
crowds, pace, food (oh, the meals we devoured…) fog, clouds, people, parties,
champagne, graffiti, cappuccino – we got it all in a two day whirlwind.
The book will be richer for that.
And it only took me a day to stop saying, “It’s so BIG.”
I had my first major rite of passage as well. The author
lunch. Oh my. It comes highly recommended.
There’s something absolutely surreal about sitting in a
swanky New York restaurant with your editor and you agent, talking about this
compilation of words you’ve slaved over, and there’s laughter, and smiling, and
compliments, and personal information, fantastic red snapper and talk of the
future. It’s a heady feeling, to be sure.
Follow up the next day with a laid back
meeting with your agent (who smiles a lot more than you’d ever expect, he’s an
AGENT, for God’s sake, they’re supposed to be biters!) and lunch at a excellent
diner in the Flatiron district with your other great editor, and you can say
this has been a successful trip.
To top it off, my lovely friend MJ Rose kindly invited us to
be her guests at the ultimate literary event – Linda Fairstein’s book signing at the Mont
Blanc store at 57th and Madison. Getting to rub elbows with the
cognoscenti, the New York literati, two Killer Year mates and the divine La
Weinman was very cool. I enjoyed getting hip checked by Cindy Adams. I gave
Anna Quindlen my business card. I also gave it to the coat check girl, who
likes mysteries. MJ’s got divine taste — dinner after was even better.
We spent some time just absorbing. We walked from Union
Square into SoHo and managed to get lost in the one section of New York that
didn’t have a coffee shop every third door. We did Rockefeller Center, Times
Square, Fox News, The New York Times.
We walked and walked and walked, and only
had one cab incident (note to self: probably not a good idea to get into an
argument about Tennessee looking a great deal like Italy with a cabbie who
informs you you’re riding in the best cab in all of the city and has just
finished mainlining three shots of Illi espresso.)
And I got pissed off about September 11th all
over again. How dare they mess with this jewel?
When we left for the airport, I realized that New York is
now a part of me. As we move closer to publication, as more decisions are made
and paths taken, my future will be inextricably tied to parts of this town. New
York is such a vibrant city, I can’t help but feel it in my bones.
I did realize one thing. If I ever lose that sense of
wonder, stop feeling that it’s my privilege to be a part of this world,
it will be time for me to pack it in. You can take a lot of things for granted
in this life, but being paid to follow your dreams isn’t one of them.
So tell me. What’s YOUR favorite aspect of New York?
If you haven’t been, what do you look forward to the most?
Wine of the Week: 2005 Poggio al Santi, La Guardie, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo