Tuesday, April 17, 2012
--I DON’T SEE MYSELF AS OTHERS DO
My four days in NY were, as usual, pretty fantastic.
…The reading at Jimmy’s went really well. I went first, wasn’t really nervous. Read eight very short pieces, including some poetry. I am improving, but can be much better. It comes down to little things, like knowing the pieces well enough to be able to find the right cadence, using gestures where appropriate, looking up at the audience often—that sort of thing. It doesn’t help that I have to use readers. Yikes.
Sara Lippmann was a wonderful hostess. The venue was cool. Jimmy’s is in NoHo, in a walk-down bar. My friend, Julie Innis read and was funny as hell. I met Jurgen Fauth, Fictionaut founder, who read from his novel, “Kino.” Myfanwy Collins read from her novel, “Echololation.” And Robb Todd read from his story collection.
It was a fantastic group to be with, and the room was packed.
…The first night I was there I went to my friend, Deborah Henry’s book launch for her novel, “The Whipping Club” at the swanky Library Hotel. That was a lot of fun, seeing Deb and meeting some other people.
…I did a lot of walking around. One of my favorite things in NY is to people watch and to just generally take in the environment.
So much happens in NY, sometimes (most of the time) all at once.
…On Sunday there was an Iranian Pride parade near my hotel. Who knew there were so many Iranians in NY? Lots of old guys holding flags. Some swirling young girls in authentic Iranian garb. There was a flamboyant gay guy working the crowd on the sidelines. (I don’t think it’s okay to be gay in Iran.)
The day before there’d been a Scottish Pride parade with many kilted, bag-piped people in rows and rows.
…In China town it smelled like rot and raw fish. There were lots of fish heads for sale, along with Lotus root and other strange, wooden-looking vegetables for sale in carts, dried mushrooms that looked like the dislodged eyeballs of dead ogres. Customers seemed to really dig those.
…While eating in Little Italy, a tiny, praying mantis man, hunched over, wearing a thick flannel sports coat in the 80 degree weather also wore a baseball cap with FUCK OFF printed on the bill. His expression was neither angry nor bemused, so I suspect he didn’t know what his hat said.
...At a busy intersection near Union Square another man stood in the middle of the crosswalk, completely asleep as cabs and car horns honked at him.
…Walking through a Park Avenue neighborhood at night I notices signs everywhere warning you not to honk and explaining that should you choose to sound your horn you’d be subjected to a $350 fine.
…All along Madison and 5th Avenue there were other signs saying, “No Standing Anytime.” I think they meant, No Standing Still. And what about lying down? Was that okay?
…Everywhere people were speaking foreign languages, mostly French, but Italian and Spanish and Ukrainian (I think), Cantonese and bad English.
…Lots of tall leggy models in oversized sunglasses and skin-tight leggings trolled the streets looking like they had somewhere important to be.
…Homeless people asked for money. Men--spray painted metallic blue--were dresses as Lady Liberty, complete with a gold torch.
Mickey and Minnie Mouse were there, too, so many in one place that poor kids were confounded, like seeing several Santa’s in one sitting.
…I saw James Franco at a book signing at Strand Books. He was mobbed by teenagers and poor James looked beat-down and exhausted with at least a hundred teens waiting for photos and autographs.
…The streets, almost always, were mobbed. Walking became a passive-aggressive endeavor.
…It was expensive--$10 for bottle water—and warm and manic and I loved every minute of it.
You would have, too.