A rather important part of my first novel is a girl’s first visit to New York City. I studied Google Maps Street View to notice things like the fact that you can see the reflection of some skyscrapers in the glass exteriors of another or that since you feel you’re in another world it’s kind of surprising to be confronted with normal things like TGI Fridays and Gap. But when it came to the girl’s emotions at seeing the City for the first time, the realization of finally stepping on the streets she had only dreamed of and which she’d believed to hold the potential for all her dreams come true – I pretty much just had to imagine. I imagined there would be moments of feeling small, moments of feeling overwhelmed and amazed, moments of an enlightened and confident “I got this.”
While writing I read an article about the importance of observing. A woman who’d once lived in Manhattan wrote about visiting again at which time she realized she needed to rewrite a Central Park scene she had just written from memory. There was just no way to capture the unique stranger-than-fiction variety of people and happenings in that location without observing it for real.
And I sighed. Because I wasn’t sure I could get to New York City before sending my manuscript to my agent. My imagination in this case would just have to do.
But NOT ANY LONGER. I’m going, People. My job is sending me to Washington D.C. and New York City for a whirlwind, jam-packed, let’s-see-all-the-highlights-we-can-possibly-stay-awake-for tour of these very popular cities for student tours. I recently wrote about some of the things I’m looking forward to on a work blog, but the post doesn’t cover half, not a fourth, not even a tiny percentage of what I’m looking forward to. It doesn’t say anything about the fact that I get to meet my agent in person for the first time ever. I didn’t write about how I want to sit on the steps of the New York Public Library and those of the Met, how I hope I see at least one live television or movie set, how convinced I am that endless possibilities are for sale on these streets like candy, gum, and Gray’s Papaya hot dogs.
Those things I thought I would share here instead where you know me.
I feel so happy and so excited I COULD SQUEAL AND CRY EVERY MOMENT OF THE DAY, but I don’t do it, because I’m being cool, People. And I’m soaking in the gratitude. I’m thankful for a job that pays off. I’m thankful for Felicity who taught me how to get along with people in a group so I don’t pout when we eat later than I’d like or at a seafood restaurant instead of burgers. I’m thankful for Buck Hudson who chaperoned my very first flight (and to another country, in fact!), finally opening my heart to the sheer wonder of meeting new places and people. I’m thankful for my mom’s for-new-shoes money, to my sister-in-law for helping make Drew’s birthday special while I’m gone and to Michael for taking Jake to preschool and feeding people and summoning every ounce of nurturing he can possibly muster to make up for the fact that the Soft One won’t be home.
I pray my camera doesn’t break and that words don’t fail me and that nothing happens to prevent my meeting with Super Agent Holly and that I don’t cry so hard with happiness at the Lion King in New York City that I can’t see the awe-inspiring costumes. And that’s just the tip, People. Now I’m off to re-spend that shoe money because the first pair gave me blisters so painful I’m not sure even the streets of New York could make them bearable. Anyone have suggestions about whether or not flip-flops are suitable for Manhattan sidewalks?
(Photo by pixagraphic on Flickr.)