Wednesday, October 23, 2013

LIVE from New York: Launching the Book!

Vol. III, No. 3

A memorable Lou Reed interview (Photo: Gabriel Garcia Rosa)
On Monday night, the night of my book launch, I paced a lot. Due to a wardrobe malfunction, I paced in snakeskin tights paired with snakeskin shoes, which means I wore a lot of snakeskin, faux snakeskin of course. The last time I wore all this snakeskin, Lou Reed pinched my bottom. That was after a Sinovision WE Talk interview, and I use the word 'interview' very cautiously. What happened with Lou Reed was more like me asking a lot of interiew-ish questions, and Lou telling me I was an idiot, followed by Lou abruptly walking off the set. 
Anyway, the LIVE from Mongolia book launch was Monday night at Manhattan's Opera Gallery. The Opera Gallery is a beautiful space filled with art created by artists following dreams of their own. My favorite artist always was and still is Patrick Boussignac, who paints as if he's painting his own dreams. Boussignac's art is surreal and vibrant and the piece I bought from him many years ago is the one thing I've clung onto from my banking days.

Making the speech. (Photo: Eugenia Hom)
As many of you know, when my book and I first met each other in person last week, my publisher Beaufort Books told me I would have to make a speech at the launch. I wasn't too thrilled by this edict, and spent the next six days talking to myself in the East Village, Dumbo, and all the cafes and trains in between.

In the end, I stood in front of all of you at the gallery and talked for ten thirsty minutes (I was really thirsty) about why I followed my dream out of Wall Street and into journalism. I told you that Christiane Amanpour inspired me, and she still does. I explained why I waited nearly a decade to follow my dream. And at the end of the speech, I thanked Mongolia, for giving me a chance I did not deserve. 

Mr Ganbold Erdene, Councillor, Mongolian Mission to UN (Photo: Melisse Seleck)
Just as I was thanking Mongolia, I noticed that Mr Ganbold Erdene had come to the party. Mr Ganbold is Councillor to the Permanent Mission of Mongolia to the United Nations, and it was an honor to have him at the launch. He even stood up to say a few words, and presented me with a photo album called "The Beauty of Mongolia." Looking at that photo album, I've gotten thirsty all over again. Thirsty for adventure. But I'm still in New York, working on all the things that need to be worked on after a book is launched. Which means that I'm actually still pacing.

Yesterday afternoon, while pacing, I found myself in the company of another Union Square/East Village legend: the guy who wears a top-hat, marshmallow coat, and skirt made of rags. His marshmallow coat looked new, and I admired it while furtively snapping a photo of him. Top-hat Guy yells at people who take his picture, but then he yells at pretty much everyone anyway. While Top-hat addressed the crowd of onlookers sitting on the steps in Union Square park, shouting about something I couldn't understand, a little girl walked by. She was about four years old, carrying a plastic cell phone. Her plastic cell phone was glued to her ear, and she was talking animatedly into it, giving imaginary instructions to the imaginary person on the other end.

Watching her, my heart was in two camps: my love for this amazing and unique city, and my love for my little girl and my guy who feel so very far away.

- LIVE from Mongolia is available on and has been featured in The Daily Beast.

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