Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I'm in New York to meet with my publisher and speak at a school on Friday. That means I have a little time off to enjoy the city. Before this trip, I'd only stayed in Midtown, but I longed to experience another New York. The New York where Meg Ryan lives in You Got Mail. So I chose a place in Chelsea on a quiet street.

Jerry flew in from Amarillo and I flew in from Saint Louis. As usual he is sleeping in while I'm gearing up to spend a morning working on Piper 4. The temps are mild here this week. I'm sitting by an open window, listening to the birds chirp and a neighbor hose off the sidewalk. This is the New York I've dreamed of.

Yesterday we met Gail Carson Levine for lunch at Pars. We ate various dishes of lamb as we caught up with our writing lives. Gail brought up the idea of doing a bus tour with other writers to towns around the country. "Wouldn't that be great?" she said.
I agreed. Gail and I got to know each other on a bus, taking us to an event. Then we both quickly added, "But it is for someone else to organize."

We are dreamers. We write. We show
up at events and talk. Other people do the hard work.

When the waiter handed us the dessert menu, the three of us immediately decided on the baklava, and we're immediately told it was still baking. We settled on something else, but our palates felt deprived of the honey and nuts wrapped in flaky pastry.

After lunch, Gail headed toward the train and we headed toward Greenwich Village. Destination: Bonnie Slotnick's Cookbooks. I'd been on the lookout for a cookbook shop and last summer I found an article on Bonnie in Victoria magazine. Bonnie's quaint shop is filled with out-of-print & antiquarian cookbooks.

Upon meeting her, I asked about my recent obsession. "Do you have A New Cookbook for Poor Poets?"

"Not today. But I've had so many copies of that book in the past."

It didn't matter. I stayed and perused the shelves and stacks. Jerry knew what was before him so he said, "I'm taking a walk. What time do you want me back?"

"Thirty minutes," I said. Twenty five minutes later, I called him. "Could you give me thirty more?"

He laughed, not the least bit surprised.

Some people have to run a mile on the treadmill to raise their heart rate. Not me. All I have to do is read titles like How to Eat Better for Less Money and Picayune Creole Cookbook.

On a shelf, behind Bonnie's desk, titled OLD BOOKS, I found Ceremonials for Common Days, which is not a cookbook, but is certain to delight. Among it's chapters is On the Eve of Being Bored. A favorite bit from this chapter:

I always feel inferior when I begin to be bored. It is as if I have not the power to live up to the occasion.

I can tell you this. Not one bored moment existed among yesterday's minutes. We even satisfied our craving for baklava on the way back to the apartment.

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