(Reposted from my Facebook page, which you are welcome to join.)
[another Facebook Transcription. Because you have standards. And that's good.]
At WisCon, had the very great pleasure of meeting Amy Butler Greenfield, and am now devouring her YA historical fantasy CHANTRESS. Also got to hang out a lot with Ysabeau Wilce, and talk about Flora & Hardhands & Tiny Doom . . . I will let her tell you about the results - for now, my lips are sealed! There were many more merry meetings, but I think I need to go lie down now (as opposed to basking in memories until they reveal all names & faces. Debbie, Caroline, Brit, noodles, momocha, Karen, ah, English muffins . . . Oh, dear. And cake.)
Last night we had Janis Ian to dinner here at Chateau Riverside. We've met often at cons, but this was the first time we'd really had a chance to sit and talk. (To my delight, she'd written some weeks back to say that she'd be in town for the Audies & BEA & the Lambda Awards [!!!], and did we have a little time?) We cooked a simple home dinner, figuring someone who's on the road that much would appreciate it. With her was the remarkable Ellen Myrick - shared the Theory of Ellens with her (which exploded like the Big Bang when Ellen Klages & I first met), and sure enough, she too is capable & bossy (well, that's what they call us!).
Tomorrow night we find out whether we won any Audie Awards - between us, Delia & I are up for FOUR!!!
Me for SWORDSPOINT: Best Audio Drama
Me for THE PRIVILEGE OF THE SWORD: Best Multi-Narrator (eeeeeee!!! That would be Barbara Rosenblat & me!!!!)
Us for WELCOME TO BORDERTOWN: Best Anthology
Delia for THE FREEDOM MAZE: Best Children's Title
This will never happen again. So off we go.
Sorry I don't update here often enough - I tend to just blurt on Twitter or Facebook, and you're more than welcome to join me there. Oh, and Tumblr, too - it's here, but it is, of course, mostly pictures. Good ones, though!
Terri's here, and today we walked through Central Park planning a new novel, which we hope to draft this month, because (as I believe LeGuin said, though not in this context), "one cannot do the work of two, but two can do the work of three."
And tonight: Just as Delia was cooking a big pot of kale soup, we get a call from Karen Joy Fowler, who's in NYC with Molly Gloss for the sad reason of a memorial for their agent. "Are you free for dinner?" I ask, and "Do you like red wine?" Yes and yes. I open a bottle my brother Philip gave me to air, and we set the table. I run to the corner for a loaf of pumpernickle. They arrive, Terri Windling-Gayton comes out from our guest room, and we spend the next 3 hours talking books and writing and life in general with some of the finest writers I know.
This is what I thought it would be like. Sometimes, it even is.
Here on the Upper West Side, they got hot running water and connectivity, and sent out a note to friends letting them know how they were. I was particularly struck by this, in Paul's note:
"As you can see, we have a
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We also went out to dinner with them at our favorite local Turkish restaurant. Our neighborhood is close to utterly normal - just some gaps in the stores where the owners/workers couldn't get here from other boroughs (or NJ!). Our mailman said it took him 3 1/2 hours to drive in from NJ yesterday, since he couldn't use a lot of the roads. Our doorman got up at 4:30 to come from Queens, so he wouldn't have to worry about the mayor's rule that from 6am - 11pm no car without 2 passengers could cross a bridge into Manhattan.
Some of our subways are already back up & running! Including the one from our place to Times Square - so we are going tomorrow night to see a new production of Beaumarchais' Figaro off-Broadway.
I tell you this not to boast or to minimize what's happening, but in the spirit of "Things the Media Won't Tell You:" the News is all horror stories & images, which have frightened & worried many; I think you need to know that not everyone in NYC is in the dark.
My cousin did say, however, before she left (on the bus, which is free through tomorrow, and runs pretty much from our door to hers 80 blocks away) that we could have no idea what pure joy it was to be able to simply flush a toilet.
We were supposed to leave for WFC in Toronto today, but we canceled rather than face the possible difficulties of travel from here. And, to be honest, I felt I wanted to be with my city while this was going on; to see my cousins & make sure they had hot showers; to help Lizza Aiken get to the airport on Saturday; and possibly to take in more friends from downtown who had to flee their apartment when it lost power, because no one can live on the 21st floor without an elevator or running water for long!
They're saying power may be back by Saturday, though. Considering the miracles city workers have accomplished so far, I wouldn't be surprised. And I will be proud of them all.
Delia: You make PC soup.
DS: Your soup is PC.
EK: What exactly are you talking about? (Thinking: What's so PC about vegetarian minestrone?)
DS: I make smooth soup. Your is full of pieces. It's all piece-y.
EK: Oh. Yeah, you're right.
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We are, by the way, on high ground. In Manhattan. Not too worried, here, though I'll fill some extra water pitchers - heaven knows we've got enough candles to light the entire building! And we're trusting the whole shebang to be over by Thursday, when we leave for WFC in Toronto; NYC is pretty good at cleaning up after itself - just hope we're right!
It's a bit disconcerting to hear that they're shutting down buses & subways tonight at 7:00, though - a result, I suspect, of the whuppin' Bloomberg took from the snowstorm 2 yrs ago. They shut down public transit for the first time maybe ever for Irene, and it was all a big hoop-la over nothing. And that means tomorrow will be a giant holiday, as no one will be able to get to work, from office people to the guys who make the sushi at our cheap lunch places. Soup.
I'm more concerned about 2 British guests we've seen this weekend, Lizza Aiken & Marina Warner (I know - what are the odds that they'd both be in town at the same time? And that we'd get to have dinner with Lizza - after her lovely panel at Bank St Books - and go to the Neue Gallery with - gulp - Marina [I still don't believe we get to be on a first-name basis!]? [We saw the Hodler exhibit - really worth seeing! The way they've laid it out, to explicate his life and vision while the pictures grow in power . . . remarkable! And such a beautiful mansion to see it all in. It's pricey, but worth it.] I think each was scheduled to leave on Tuesday.
Making an extra-large pot of soup.
DS: Why don't you just let me do things the way I want to?
EK: I don't believe in that.
DS: Do it anyway.
EK: But you're making me go against my beliefs!
DS: Just go away.
Much champagne (well, sparkling white from various countries) was drunk to celebrate the publication of Liz's second Cass Neary novel, AVAILABLE DARK (which, if it is even half as good as the first one, is very, very good indeed!). Bottles kept popping open. I drank more than I normally do, but it was over the course of many hours, and accompanied by lots of terrific food. We stayed out later than we normally do, and came home late and happy on the subway.
As Terri & I said good night to each other at opposite ends of the hallway, we remembered the way we used to sit in the scruffy kitchen on 110th St. (yes, the very kitchen in the apt. in my last post), wondering at the fact that here we were, young 20-somethings already successful in publishing, living in New York, and yet . . . and yet . . . .
Where are the boys with champagne?
we used to cry. Because surely, once you'd been published, won awards, etc., your life would be an endless feast of beautiful young men pouring champagne - and you'd never have to do the laundry or the dishes or take out the trash or scrub the catbox again?! And yet.
So; last night. We were back in the midst of the Glamorous Publishing Thing together. It was just the way we'd always hoped it would be. And we realized, that, now, finally - and I swear we both shouted this out at exactly the same moment:
We'd found the boys with champagne!
Terri: Well done!
Me: Well. . . I'm good at solving problems by attacking them with little pointy bits of metal.
(Delia's been at ICFA, is flying home even now. I'm running out for groceries before I phone blackholly to plan some cool promo stuff for the Welcome to Bordertown paperback release April 10th!)
The most extraordinary thing happened to me today.
I returned to the apartment I lived in after college, the one that inspired my Riverside books, the one where I wrote Swordspoint and Thomas the Rhymer.
It happened because, about 3 years ago, I wrote this post about it. Recently, the new owner found the post and wrote asking me if she was indeed living in my old apartment.
Reader . . . It was someone I knew. --Or, at least, had known, in my previous lifetime in publishing. She'd known my brother in college, and we'd had lunch a couple of times. She worked at the Village Voice, then. (Now, she is a YA writer, and I will have to ask her permission before I go posting her address here....I'll call her "P--" for now.) We also figured out that she is the person responsible for my reading BAB: A SUB-DEB. And she had a well-worn first edition of Swordspoint.
The odds are dazzling and enormous.
And here I confess that it's taken me about a year to take her up on her offer to come over and see the old place. Even though, before I knew it was hers, I'd dreamed of slipping a note under the door saying, "Hi, I used to live here and would you mind terribly if I came in and looked around, sometime?" It's different, when it's someone you know.
Fortunately, Terri had also lived in that apartment with me for awhile (along with a rotating cast of roommates) - she created Bordertown there, in fact! - and she wanted to see it, too. So we went together.
And it was wonderful. My body remembered the elevator, and the hallway; it all felt right and familiar, as if I'd never left. The apartment's been fixed up - inlaid floors sanded & polished, kitchen re-done - but not unrecognizably. And it's all still there. Terri & P-- went into the kitchen to make tea, and I confess I sat in the livingroom and cried, because there was the fireplace where Alec burned the book, and the wall Richard had practiced against. And the window where I had my desk, looking out on the street, was glowing in the sunlight.
I joked with P-- that, since I am trying to write a novel about a girl who goes back to Riverside, she should let me come over and write there - and she claimed that if I promised to name an appealing character after her, she would consider it.
This is not quite the post I'd intended to write; either I'm too tired, or I don't actually want to talk about it all yet. I did take a lot of photos, and maybe I'll put them up, here or on FB. (I tweeted one, today - because it's easy from my iPhone. I'm so Lo-Tech!) But since the day also included Delia leaving for ICFA, and my going later to a friend's talk at the Drama Bookshop . . . and getting and obsessing over audition clips for the TPOTS actors . . . Well, it's nice to be able to just sit here and think about it.
I forgot to ask her to leave me some for my oatmeal.
ETA: A friend on Facebook says it's a "1% Problem" - perfect!
"Anyone could write a novel given six weeks, pen, paper and no telephone or wife."
Clearly, Mr. Waugh meant to type "and the internet" but got distracted.
Suggest you head on over to handworn, then, and don't miss the brilliant obituary apparently written by a lamentably lost friend of his herself. It is long and hilarious and bittersweet. A sample:
"She then moved to New York City and pretended to pursue a career in theater. When it became apparent that she was too lazy for a theatre career, she turned her attention to other opportunities . . . . During those years, Miss McGarr's personal life was more interesting than her professional life. She visited her family in Alabama frequently, but good taste prevented her from disclosing most of what was going on...
"Quitting was an activity she had come to love and would enjoy for the rest of her life."
Today we meet with my agent to discuss more audiobooks. Tomorrow we take my old Klezmer Nutcracker director & her teenage foster daughter & friend to the Big Apple Circus. Yesterday we took my Israeli publisher to see Porgy & Bess (which deliasherman has either just reviewed or is about to), starting with dinner w/a young Israeli writer living in NYC whom I wanted him to meet - and they had plenty of time to chat while I was still at home desperately trying to find my wallet, which in a fit of cleanup I somehow left on Delia's desk (that's a new one!) - and then took his 80-yr-old traveling fool of a mother & his sister for drinks at B'way hangout Joe Allen's, to see the Wall of Shame (posters of shows that flopped big) - and the day before that we saw 2 movies & found a Chinese restaurant on E. B'way that was not already full or hosting a wedding party . . . .
On Saturday, we fly to Florida. Never have I looked forward to tedium, family & sunshine with more enthusiasm. Meanwhile, if I owe you a contract or a bio or a proofread or a interview (*coffcoff* BrittMandeloErinUnderwoodNancyHoldringJo
*Rugs: A few years ago when I was whinging about it all - these being the very rugs we ended up putting in storage that we just disovered got all chewed by moths (see my previous post) - he turned out to have a vast knowledge of antique ruggery, and wrote me some useful and informative comments which I fear I'll never find again.
Also, many thanks to all for the moth advice, particularly the generous engarian .
DS: I believe you. Absolutely and implicitly and without irony.
DS: Because I know your little ways.
DS: I'm just digging myself in deeper, aren't I?
DS: You're going to Tweet that, aren't you?
Then Betsy & Ellen went off to unaccountably do some editing, while those of us who Live for Pleasure ambled up to Columbus Circle, looked at some Crafts and then had an incredibly fine dinner at Sugiyama - turns out even Japanese fancy kaiseki restau's have an Early Bird Special - er, excuse me, Prix Fixe - in NYC.
The marched back down to W. 44th to see On a Clear Day You Can See Forever w/Harry Connick Jr, who wasn't very good, but the rest of the cast was. deliasherman is bound to write up a smart review, so I will say only that the newly revised book is absurd yet charming. I did see the original (in summer stock) when I was 12, and it had a great effect on me. I am inclined to be critical; also, as a working fantasist, I resent my suspension of disbelief being asked to perform unreasonable acrobatics. Still, I grinned through most of it, and didn't think about moths.
Walked Rani back to his hotel, where he presented me with some 12 boxes of Galilee Bouquet herbal tea in such divine flavors as Sage & Lemongrass, and Verbena & Za'atar. (I had asked for 1 box of Rosemary & Sage, but apparently Wissotsky doesn't make it any more. As booby prizes go, the 12 other boxes take the cake bigtime!)
Subway took us home, where I attacked mothy plastic clothing bags with vigor and bleach - until I realized this was really stupid, and just threw them out.
Thank goodness for great lashings of sweet to go with the bitter. And grant us the blahblah to remember that it's not always one or the other.
And to all, a good night.
*In brief: Went to uptown Storage Unit yesterday (in rented car) to retrieve winter clothes, and found 4 of our stored Persian rugs seriously moth-eaten. Was not pretty. Will spare you details. Delia Facebook'd about it some. She waited for emergency Rug Man to come & take them away. Will cost a lot to fix, but hope insurance will cover. HOPE. Brought clothes home, thought they were OK, but found damage in one, so went out for garbage bags & mothballs (yes, I know now that mothballs do not in fact work - looked a buncha stuff up on internet - including fact that we shoulda put anti-moth in the rugs when we stored them - but who knew? Our stuff is in a climate-controlled bunker 4 floors underground! It all seems so sterile, there....); this morning took it all to the cleaners....
and aherm if you join Audible in order to buy it once it's there, I aherm get extra $$ from them), making a huge fuss last Tuesday over the launch of deliasherman 's THE FREEDOM MAZE, and planning the party for it here in NYC for it, which takes place this Tuesday and you're all invited.
I am in charge of the Authentic Louisiana 19c Punch (and the Sweet Tea). And the music: There will be a pianist playing music of 1860 & 1960, and right now I must leave you to go through the Stephen Foster Songbook for songs that are popular & not offensive, and through Civil Rights Songbooks (thank you, NYPL/Lincoln Center Music Circulating Library!) for songs everyone kinda knows, and make Lyric Sheets to print out for guests, because THERE WILL BE SINGING! Also the cake-baking contest.
But, um, FaerieCon was insanely fun, I've got photos somewhere (Twitter? other peoples' posts of our Bordertown panel?) of Delia in her goddam wings (OK, they're cute - and now Brian Froud wants to borrow them for his NYC Gallery Opening in December, but his wife won't let him and let me tell you those puppies can put someone's eye out if you're not careful) and the gorgeous Elizabethan-style gown I actually made her buy - which she can wear next week at DarkoverCon! - and we had the most amazing time with new BFF authors Tiffany Trent & Franny Billingsley (I've been a huge fan of her books for years - imagine what it's like to meet such a one, and discover you have tons in common & love hanging out! A different thrill from getting a warm hug from Peter Beagle a WFC - a Founding Father, but not someone you can talk Shoes with) - and then Franny was in NYC for the NBA (the one with no balls - oh, wait, that's both of them!) and we got to hang out with her with Nancy Werlin, who won awards for her YA Domestic Realism, but is slowly drifting over to Our Side of the Force (last 2 novels involve aherm Faerie) and is one of the nicest people on earth......um, I'd better go do those songsheets now.
But you know I love you. I do.