back from NYC

August 14, 2006 I'm humming along to my Ipod...but nobody can hear me above the rumble of a cookie delivery truck, the blaring cabs and buses. Some dude sells gaudy hairbands beside a bagel cart. A pair of matching terriers dart under my toes...which dangle off the edge of a fountain. I remember the abstract statue in the middle (it reminds me of a metallic sea urchin). Across the street, on the corner of 55th and 6th Ave is the jumbled "LOVE" statue and my publisher's gleaming skyscraper...rows and rows of square windows. Inside I can see stacks of books, cubicles decorated with cardboard cutouts (one looks like Charlie Chaplin or Hitler. I can't tell which...)

I wrote this in my Moleskine, just before waltzing into the HarperCollins building (with the turnstiles in the lobby that bring subways to mind). I snatched my nametag from the suited guy at the front desk (They're always so polite!) and rode the elevator to another glassed-in lobby (I had to call Julie on the hall phone and wait for her to buzz me through the door).

In my second face-to-face meeting, we talked about the "fun stuff" that only seemed like a dream, just a year ago. The cover is in the hands of the London design team. Have I picked out a freelance publicist yet? (No, but I plan on it). We should know the release date when HarperCollins has their bigwig meeting in October, which is the time to plan their marketing strategies for the 2007 books.

I still get a kick out of Julie. I feel that if we met in some other dimension (maybe during study abroad) we would be friends. At times, she sounds businessy ("We communicated your vision to the art department.") In a flash, she'll fall into giggles. Consider the postcard from her Burmese cat, tucked beside her computer. "Sorry for eating your plant. Do you still love me?"

After my quickie meeting, I jumped on a JetBlue plane and flew back to Miami, just in time to teach an English class at 6pm. I was still thinking about the colors and textures of the Big Apple, like the concert I saw in McCarren Pool, a dried-up old swimming hole in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. That's where the Yeah Yeah Yeahs played with Sonic Youth, surrounded by tidal waves of graffiti. You could still see the turquoise paint flaking beneath your sneakers, along with rusty drains as sharp as dinosaur teeth.

I also had a chance to check out the Warm Up party at PS1, float on a water taxi from the sandy fake beaches in Queens, and sip an espresso martini at Balthazar. See more of my NYC flix at Flickr.

My next assignment? To write an acknowledgement page and take a picture for the Official Author Photo.