I might not have been wearing ruby slippers but I certainly felt like my recent trip to the East Coast — including New York City — was a tornado of activity! In North Jersey, I spent time with some of my favorite friends, including the founder of Vox Poetica, Annmarie Lockhart. Annmarie and I met in an online workshop when I was starting to write what has become The Glass Wives. We have been close friends — and our kids have been close — ever since.
On my second day, I hopped (ok, walked tentatively) onto the ferry for my day in New York. And then — I took a bus!!! Now, here’s something you don’t know about me — I grew up a city girl in Philadelphia. Not a suburban girl, a city girl. A bus, El (as in elevated train), subway, girl. A walk-everywhere girl. But I’ve now lived in various suburbs around the country since 1990 and this public transportation thing is just not as easy as it used to be. Sure, I can get on the commuter train in my little tiny Chicago suburb and it delivers me to the heart of the Chicago Loop. After that, my friends, I either walk or take cabs. I am no longer a city girl no matter how much I try to convince myself otherwise.
But, I love the rush of the city streets and I can still weave in and out of a bustling crowd like it’s 1988. I like the shadows cast by skyscrapers and the faraway look in the eyes of passersby. But what I don’t like is not knowing where the hell I am going!!! I have absolutely no sense of direction so please do not tell me to go East or West. I know that the lake (Lake Michigan) is always East when you are in Chicago. Like that’s supposed to help when you can’t SEE the lake. It doesn’t. Anyway, I digress. I had the whole NY trip mapped, scoped, planned.
Luckily, I have no problem asking directions – even in New York. So when I saw the line of about a gazillion (or six) busses, all going places whose names meant nothing to me, I asked. And the cranky bus driver told me. He even told me when I’d arrived, six minutes later, at 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue. Even though I could see the signs, had buzzed the buzzer, and was standing by the door.
New Yorkers are much nicer than people say they are.
I’ve been to New York City many times. But this time was different, because my destination was The Flatiron Building, home of St. Martin’s Press! Woo Hoo!
Brenda is as exuberant and wonderful and smart in person as she is in emails and over the phone. We chatted in her office, she introduced me to lots of people who were instrumental in acquiring my book and those who are working on it now and some who will be working on it down the road. We had some of those author-publisher meetings you think you’re going to have where all you do is talk about your book, its cover, the marketing, the writing, and that kind of dreamy stuff we writers dream about. It’s all dreamy. But the best part is — you’re not dreaming!
Then, we went to lunch. Lunch is a very important part of publishing. Lunch is where I met my agent, Jason Yarn. I’ve now been working with Jason officially for almost two years, but this is the first time we met in person! And it was fabulous. He is wicked smart, a great editor, and I can’t imagine a better advocate for this author.
After lunch and important lunchy publishing and food banter, I walked back to Paradigm with Jason, where I met more people and where we discussed my next novel. Which is in the works. More Woo Hoo! And then he very kindly walked with me a bit and directed me back to St. Martin’s. And I do believe he would vouch for my lack of a sense of direction. ‘Nuff said.
I know that a day like that in New York is the result of my hard work and determination. Yet, it was magical. It was all real — and I had the hurty feet to prove it — but it was surreal as well. What it was most of all, was right. I have experienced a lot of wrong. This is definitely better.
Is there anything you want to know about meeting my agent and editor or being at St. Martin’s? Just ask! I was busy for eight hours that day and it’s hard to filter out all the information. It was really wonderful. I felt at ease just being in the city and waiting to meet Brenda. I was invigorated. I can’t wait to go back.
Then, we headed to my hometown of Philadelphia to celebrate my parents’ 50th anniversary!
We also spent time over the weekend with other family and friends — having good meals, good conversations, and just enjoying being with the people I’m closest to who happen to be the ones who are farthest away.
And to top it off, after too many airport delays, I spotted Amy Hatvany’s re-released The Language of Sisters, right next to the Butterscotch Krimpets in the Philly airport. That, my friends, is prime placement for both of these wonderful treats!
Actually — the whole trip was all kinds of wonderful.
But, there’s no place like home.
Just ask Mitzi.