Saturday, June 2, 2012

Both Sides Now

Woke up to the most beautiful sounds in the world: NYC waking up outside my window. Greenwich Village in particular makes the sounds I most love. Add to these this morning rain falling gently onto Greenwich Street and I have the perfect background music for a morning of working. Today's goal is to finish revising Book Six in The Treasure Chest series, in which my time traveling twins meet the last Queen of Hawaii. I took a risk with this one, and introduced a lot of new ideas. All of which failed (according to wise powers that be). So it's a total revamp, and one that is going slowly.

But it makes me pause to think about the importance--no, the necessity--of revising. Too many new writers resist it, and their work suffers as a result. So far for me, 2012 has been all about revision. More so than writing. I spent months on revising THE OBITUARY WRITER. And truly, folks. The book sings now. I am so eager for everyone to read it.

The novel deals with themes of grief and loss, but also explores questions of love and marriage, infidelity and women's changing roles over time. I am going to post random sentences from the novel here starting next week as a kind of fun way to introduce it to you. 

Last night, I went to hear Judy Collins at Town Hall here in Manhattan. I don't go to lots of concerts. In fact, as I was walking there--along the High Line, which you must do when you're next in NYC--I realized I go to about one a year. Last year Aaron Neville, the year before John Prine and Iris Diment. Of course, I always try to go to at least one day of the Newport Folk Festival, which last year meant Emmylou Harris and Pete Seeger. And I admit to being a Parrot Head too. So you get some insight into my musical taste here. I am dying to get to a Zac Brown concert, but so far haven't been able to make that happen. But I digress...

Stopped at 23rd. Street and descended the High Line for dinner at The Half King, Sebastian Junger's pub. This is a fun place to grab a burger if you are in the neighborhood. I opted for a soft shell crab po boy instead, because the window for eating soft shell crabs is so narrow that I have to have them constantly. Unfortunately, this one was mostly coating and iceberg lettuce. But it didn't really matter. Drinking beer and sitting outside and dipping my fried into a chipotle mayo more than made up for it. Plus, I made fast work of a giant bowl of mussels to start, and they were fabulous. Cooked in a rich garlicky marinara. Eating them made me decide I should make mussels more at home. Easy and yummy.

Back on the High Line and onward to 43rd. Street. Madeleine Peyroux opened the concert. I love her first CD, and when she sings Leonard Cohen or Edith Piaf, you just want to weep. But everyone had come for Judy, and after intermission (mine spent in an interminable line to the bathroom) she took the stage in black sequins, knee high boots, that gorgeous mane of gray hair (note to self: when I am 73 I too will have a gorgeous mane of gray hair. And knee high black boots.) and sang her heart out. Both Sides Now. Helplessly Hoping. Send in the Clowns. Mr. Tambourine Man. Her encore song: Somewhere Over the Rainbow. And her in between song banter was almost as mesmerizing as she reminisced about the Village in the early 60s and the folk scene there. My heart be still. I kind of floated back home, and sat with a cold glass of chardonnay grinning until bedtime.

Today, I'm getting a surprise visit from an old friend. I'm thinking we might hit MOMA and the Cindy Sherman retrospective. Unless the rain sends us into a movie theater instead. Tickets tonight to the play Peter and the Star Catcher with another old pal. Cannot wait to see it! We are having an early dinner pre show, probably at his favorite place. I don't know the name, and there is no sign on the door. You just have to know which brownstone door to open. I always see someone famous there. Last time it was the guy who played Sal on Mad Men. 

But of course I am still fresh from our trip out west to deliver Sam safely into the arms of the Missoula Children's Theater. Above, one of the little red trucks that travel the country all summer, delivering theater to kids. Sam will be in truck #38, visiting Colorado, NM, Kansas, and Nebraska.

But before we hit Missoula, we spent an interesting day in Salt Lake City (which is where we flew into because there is nothing like a road trip out west!). From there the next morning we drove through Idaho to Yellowstone, and spent the night at the great Old Faithful Inn. Lots of bison spotting, and some huge mule deer. And lots of snow! And of course, Old Faithful. I watched it erupt about five times because it is just one of those things that gives me the chills to see, like the Statue of Liberty and the Golden Gate Bridge in the fog. Day three found us in Bozeman, MT and there I discovered the Country Bookshelf, one of those indie bookstores that you can lose yourself in for a very long time. I did! Final stop with Sam still in town: Missoula. I cried, yes I did. A lot. Happy for him, sad over a Sam-less summer in RI. When we left Missoula, we got fortification at Liquid Planet where I think I had one of the best cups of coffee ever. Back to SLC, and a night in a gorgeous B and B near the state house. A bottle of cabernet on the porch, watching evening settle over the city.

I had photos to share, but it is almost 10 o'clock and I have a book to revise! So I will post them soon.

One final thing: knitters, you must knit this blanket in the Waves pattern. has it on their website. It is easy, with just one challenging row out of every four. I will post a picture of mine when I finish, which will be soon!