Writing Around Manhattan

Five full days in New York City offer a multitude.

Of people.

Of experiences.

Of observation.

Each and all, an overload of every sense. In other words, nirvana for a writer.

DH and I traveled to Manhattan to explore our passions at both Book Expo and the Audio Publishers Association Conference.

I’m the author in our tribe, writing both fiction and nonfiction. He’s pursuing audio narration, a perfect sequel to his radio news days.

Standing among the thousands at these conferences, we both remembered our past. Where we met and how we lived, several lifetimes ago.

But what we learned last week is that, because of our pasts, anything is possible in the future, even if we’re both overwhelmed.

Writing every day offered a balm, a centering point. My computer called me back to the page.

It sounded like a voice whispering me to capture what I’d learned, heard, seen, discovered in panel discussions, even casual conversations. During a round‐trip trek of the High Line, I pulled over to take dictation.

Yes, sometimes writing only involves dictation.

Later, breakfast at Cafe Lalo beckoned. This Upper West Side restaurant remains a must‐stop any time New York calls either DH or me.

Its brick walls and glass‐walled front offer a bohemian decor that enriches the creative food it so playfully delivers.

Go at night and you’ll recognize its interior from the movie, You’ve Got Mail, 20+ years ago. Nothing is heaven like Lalo chocolates and hot tea on a cold New York night.

By the way, that orange cup — for green tea, of course — was this year’s unexpected treat. I’d have bought one but they won’t sell their china.

Finally, a first‐time visit to Central Park’s Strawberry Fields demanded one last round of daily writing. But this became a prayer for peace.

It felt so vital following the cacophony of unexpected crowds a hillside away.

I fled the Imagine memorial, diminished. I imagined John Lennon would feel the same. 

Musicians performing despite signs forbidding it. Vendors selling bad reproductions and cheap art. People plopping down for pictures, one pair of butt cheeks slapping in after another.

Yes, it was that crude. I ran away to write it down, get the unpleasantness, the disappointment out of my head.

DH showed me his photo much later. I saw not me, but a writer at work. I imagined an unwitting Monet model, consumed not by the artist at work but by the art itself.

Maybe that’s what Mr. Lennon was after, too.