25 August 2007

Good Times

Since moving to Hoboken, lots of people have asked, "How are you doing? Are you settled? Are you euphoric? Are you crazy?" I tend to mumble an answer, trying to find a word that sounds simultaneously like yes and no. Even though this particular part of the Earth is one of my favorites, there's nothing easy about pulling up stakes after a decade of pretty stable living.

I tend to avoid blog posts about my life and all that, partly because there's not a whole lot of all that to it, but I do want to take this lazy Saturday to chronicle a few things and offer some public thank yous. I start work at a new school this coming week, and before I get all tangled up in that post-summer life, I want to preserve here a few great moments.

I owe thanks for sustenance and company to all sorts of people, including Gordon van Gelder, Liz Gorinsky, Juliet Ulman, and other friends new and old. Including one I'll mention at the end of this post.

Rick Bowes
is one of the great people of the universe. We had dinner together Thursday night, and finally got to compare notes on all sorts of old Broadway and Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway shows (every other chance we've had, we've been around people who, for reasons I cannot fathom, find such subjects less than enthralling. And you were right, Rick: it was Donald O'Connor in There's No Business Like Show Business. Interestingly, though, Jerry Orbach did appear with Ethel Merman in 1967's TV version of Annie Get Your Gun.) As any reader of Rick's books Minions of the Moon, From the Files of the Time Rangers, or Streetcar Dreams might suspect, he tells marvelous tales of New York, its history, its changes not just during the decades he's lived in Manhattan, but since the good ol' days of Peg-Leg Pete.

On Friday, I got to go to the Random House building to meet the great and glorious Colleen Lindsay. Colleen was, I think, the first person in the publishing world to pay attention to The Mumpsimus, and so we have been corresponding for more than three years now, but never had the opportunity to meet in person until now. She'd thought she would have an easy afternoon, so we'd have lots of time to grab lunch, but little did she know one of the books she's a publicist for was about to explode across the world's media. That she was able to carve out a couple hours to spend with me was miraculous, and the naive country boy side of myself that I try so hard, and so seldom successfully, to conceal came out as I sat listening to Colleen talk to ABC News, Time, etc. All the while I looked out her window at the steel stalagmites of Manhattan and felt like I was at the center of the world. We did get to go to lunch, though, and talk about all sorts of things that had nothing to do with the book that had so suddenly consumed her life, and thus perhaps in some small way I helped preserve her sanity.

And then last night I finished the first real story (as opposed to vignette) that I have finished in over a year. It's a clumsy first draft, but it's something. So yes, I think I'm finally settling in.

Lastly, but not leastly, I wanted to note here that after a summer of bliss and relaxation, Meghan McCarron is leaving Brooklyn to return to work in New Hampshire. A year ago, I was helping find her way around my home state and the school where I worked, where she had just been hired. I told her from the outset that I expect to leave, that I needed a change of life and pace, but that doesn't make it feel any less strange for me to be here right now and for her to be heading back to NH today. She's been the only person in my new world who knows many of the sign posts of my old world, and that's made the transition much easier. And she helped me empty a truck full of stuff into my apartment. We had far fewer opportunities to spend time together here in the NY/NJ area than we expected, but nonetheless, I've gained great comfort just knowing she was around, and I look forward to her return. In the meantime, she's keeping my old apartment in NH warm and cozy, and guarding the many boxes of books I had to leave in the barn... (I should also note that I have given Meghan permission to write about what happened at the burlesque show, because I'm certainly not going to. So don't ask me. Ask her.)

And now back to our regularly unscheduled programming.