I used to go to New York a lot. The first time was when I was eleven, when my dad introduced my sisters and me to the place. We stayed at the Commodore Hotel over Grand Central Station, and he took us to the Empire State Building, the Broadway production of “Peter Pan,” Rockefeller Center, and the Flatiron Building. Little did I know at the time that the Flatiron Building would play a role in my life – but I’m getting ahead of myself.
After that maiden trip, there were others to see friends, attend camp reunions, taste more of Broadway (my dad believed in theater), visit museums, even shop. Once I went to college, there were plenty of New York classmates to spend weekends or vacations with. During the whole of my senior year, I was engaged to a guy who was a VISTA volunteer in the South Bronx, so I took the bus to New York once a month.
Actually, Steve gave me a diamond ring in New York. We went to Rockefeller Center to mark the occasion. Can you believe this picture?
We got married the summer after my graduation and lived in Cambridge, an easy drive to law school for Steve, but we returned to New York whenever we could. Then kids came, I started writing, and Manhattan became something very different for me. It was where I met with my agent, where I met with my publisher, where I went for signings and interviews and author photos.
I don’t go to New York often now. Between phone and email, communication with publishing people doesn’t require constant face-to-face. With the growth of the Internet, book signings have taken a back seat to blog tours. And that author photo? I do it on my home turf.
But I did return to New York last week for meetings with my agent and publisher in advance of the publication of Blueprints, and, let me tell you, I was dreading the visit. A writer spends endless hours in solitude; that’s what I’m used to. But suddenly, I have meetings, one after the other, with anywhere from one to a dozen people, all focused on me. Talk about going outside my comfort zone!
In advance of the trip, I worried that my train would be delayed and I’d be late for meetings, that my performance in a promo video would be inarticulate, or that my clothes would be all wrong. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to snag a cab to get to the publishing house – which is located in, ta-da, the Flatiron Building, the very same one I first saw when I was eleven – and that my feet would die in heels when I tried to hoof it there. I agonized over forecasts of rain, because rain means humidity, and humidity means frizzy hair, which wasn’t the look I was aiming at.
My fears never materialized. Yes, there were sprinkles, but they were minor. The train was on time, I easily caught cabs, and my clothes were perfect. Most important, everyone I met was friendly and sincere and loaded with news of the amazing effort they are putting behind the publication of Blueprints. And then, of course, with such wonderful support, I did just fine with the tapings, both video and audio. Hopefully, I’ll have some samples of those posted where you all can see by the time Blueprints comes out.
That’s June 9. Got it on your calendar?