Oct 6, 2011


I read Mary Costello's three-part New York Diary on Stinging Fly's blog the other day and really enjoyed her visitor's impressions of New York. I will be working on a New York City travel guide in the coming weeks so I'm especially open to a visitor's relationship with this city. Mary was working from a desk at the Centre for Fiction in midtown Manhattan for a few weeks, and in the process, tentatively acknowledging herself as a writer. I sometimes forget how Manhattan allows you do that ... define yourself. It's packed and stacked with stuff and people, and while there's little space, there's so much room. And nobody's watching. Try yourself on. Nobody's watching. Fart on the street. Nobody knows.

I live in a residential neighborhood in Brooklyn, so sometimes when I work from home, I forget about the energy and freedom of the city over the bridge. As I sit here now, I can hear a woman talking loudly on her phone out front, whingeing about the shoddy work her dentist did. I wonder if her phone is even on. Her voice is nasal and grating. A bus screeches on the small incline from the corner, and releases its breath as it passes my house; I guess there was no one waiting for it this time because I didn't hear it grimace and stop at the next corner. Squirrels toss acorns at my back window trying to get my attention. If I look out the window, I might find a squirrel in a trenchcoat holding a boombox over his head ...
"In your eyes
the light the heat
in your eyes
I am complete"
Sing it with me!
"In your eyes
I see the doorway to a thousand churches
in your eyes
the resolution of all the fruitless searches
in your eyes
I see the light and the heat
in your eyes
oh, I want to be that complete
I want to touch the light
the heat I see in your eyes

I won't go to the window in case he's not there. I'll look for Peter Gabriel on my i-Pod instead.

I had morning tea with a friend in Bryant Park yesterday, and I caught Mary Costello's spark. Bryant Park is one of my favorite spots in the city; it's the New York Public Library's backyard, a lovely long lawn (fenced in by 40th and 42nd Streets, Fifth and Sixth Avenues) with seating, coffee kiosks, pigeons, free wifi, and free people-watching.

 I arrived a half hour early for my date so I could soak in the sun and the quietly vibrating hum of this yoga mat in midtown Manhattan. I thought about Mary Costello coming here to write and sent her some anonymous warm wishes and sunshine on an autumn breeze heading over the Atlantic.

I've decided to work from the library for a few days next week for a little change of scenery (and a breather from my stalker squirrel). I can't wait for the tea breaks in the park. Can't wait to carve a little room in the middle of it all. Can't wait to fart on the street.

1 comment:


Beautiful post.
I met Mary at the Cork Short Story Fest in Sep. - a lovely person. And a great writer :)

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