31 Aug Gettin’ in the Groove
You’ve not arrived till you’ve done yoga on the roof of an 11th story building overlooking the Hudson River … as the lights twinkle at sunset across the stunning George Washington Bridge. While contorting my body into dog and warrior positions, all I wanted to do was jump up and take photos. Talk about a surreal experience. This may top my list so far.
I’m certainly getting my steps in. The subway stop closest to my apartment has 115 steps down into the station. Down’s not so bad, but up is a different story. Paragraph, my writing place, is on the third story, adds another 48 steps. Yes, I counted them. So, with yoga last night and three days of major walking, am I now in shape? Riiight.
Each time I come to this city, I marvel at their subway system. Yeah, it’s old and a bit nasty in places, but the intricacies, how they are layered on top of each other to get you anywhere you want to go, still amaze me. And to think they were designed, built, and opened in 1904, without the aid of computers. I’m fairly proficient in navigating them now, but I will admit that whenever I come up from underground onto street level I never know whether to turn right, left, east, or west? Today I made the wrong guess. After a quick pirouette, I rerouted myself and luckily found my destination within the block.
My first stop this morning was the Union Square Market, specifically for breakfast. I visit it every time I’m in town, weather permitting. I’ve always been drawn to fresh outdoor markets, wherever I am in the world. The brilliant colors, the textures, the sounds of the crowd – I love it all! For just a moment I stopped to breathe it all in. I listened to a red hound nearby howl at the piercing sound of an approaching siren. I watched bees flit in and out of a huge yellow sunflower blossoms. And I grinned at a man approaching me wearing a tee shirt that read “Cocky Bastard.” He looked like one too, and that’s why I didn’t have the nerve to ask for a photo. I settled for a big ole delicious walnut danish, then headed to my writing nook in the next block.
I spent most of yesterday writing on my second book. Not having any formal training in writing, I’m having to learn a lot, in this case, about point of view. Choosing POV in my first book was obvious, first person. This second book, a story of two 10-year-old girls, is tougher. I’m finding that there are details the reader needs to know, ones a young child might not pick up on nor process the same way an adult would. For instance, one of the little girls’ mothers dies from the effects of alcoholism. Two little girls, in 1969 when children were much more innocent, would not have spoken of such issues, and certainly couldn’t have grasped, nor voiced, the implications such a disease would bring. It’s crucial to my story that I capture the naïveté of these girls so, at this point, I’m sticking with the child’s point of view. To get the information across I’ve created a funeral for the mother and the child repeats what she overhears two women gossiping about the deceased woman. They spill all the gory details which the child describes to the reader. Like I said, I have so much to learn. Luckily, I have lots of experts here at Paragraph to help me!
And last but not least, I had two really fun things happen to me while here: One, a woman stopped and turned to me. “Are you a movie star?” When I insisted I wasn’t, she kept struggling with exactly who it was that I favored. Finally she blurted out, “You know, Murphy Brown!” Me, Candace Bergen? HA! The only thing I have in common with Murphy Brown is I couldn’t live without my handyman either.
My second fun thing: My book got this wonderful 5-star review on Amazon:
“Dynamic and compelling memoir of a mid-life renaissance. This beautifully written book is both a personal memoir of mid-life challenges and a vivid guide to New York City. We all face unexpected obstacles around age 50 and it was so inspiring to read how the author met these problems with both courage and humor. This should be a movie with Meryl Streep.”
Folks, book reviews mean an awful lot to we authors. Good ones we love, but we also learn from the not-so-good ones too. I’d really appreciate you leaving one HERE if you’ve read my book.
P.S.: A quick note about the tamales I spoke about in Monday’s blog post. My dear friend Glenda found where they’ve gone. CLICK HERE to read this article in the New York Times. This’ll warm your heart.
Evelia’s Tamales: eveliastamales.com
I wish each of you were here with me, enjoying this “best city on the planet!” Thanks for following along!