Saturday, October 19, 2013

LIVE from New York: Preparing for the book launch!

Vol. III, No. 2
The famed Mosaic Man NYC

My book and I are sitting together in a cafe in Union Square in New York. It's fall, and the leaves are changing, but only on a few trees here and there. Occasionally, someone I recognize from my old neighborhood will come into the cafe. We won't say hi, because we never did before, but we will nod our mututal recognition.

Earlier this week, I went walking with my friend Andrea. Andrea walks a lot. In fact, Andrea says she's come to regard herself as a "Professional Walker" and if you counted your miles each day the way Andrea does, and if you regularly clocked 15 or so miles on a daily basis, you'd consider yourself a professional too. Anyway, on our stroll, we stumbled on Mosaic Man. Mosaic Man's real name is Jim Power, and he's a little bit of a local legend. Jim is the guy who creates art on New York City telephone poles by spackling mosaic onto the base of the poles. While Jim told us his story (a little convoluted and better read about on his website), a local shop owner approached Jim and offered him broken dishes from his dish shop. Jim was bowled over, and so were we. Seeing this local legend at work was something of a little dream of mine. I'd always wanted to know who did this, who took the time to create this street art for the public, without pay.

Familiar sight in New York: the smokestack
And speaking of walking, I've been walking a lot too. On Monday, my book launches. There will be a party to celebrate this, and at the party I have to make an important speech. For the better part of this week, I've been practicing that speech, covering a lot of ground in the East Village, talking to myself and gesturing. Which is to say, no one takes notice; I fit right in here.

It's been a little difficult being so far from my little girl and my guy, and last night we all Skyped. Although it's only been a week since I left them, my little girl didn't look so little anymore. She looked bigger and older and her hair seemed longer. She was clearly very excited to see me though, and tried to feed me chewed-up apple skins through the screen. She's always been generous like that with chewed-up food, and I did my best to smack my lips just as I would have done in person.

In the meantime, I've been trying to create a sense of calm for Monday. However, there are some things that are just unforgivable, like using dill as a food substance. Or what happened yesterday.

Everyone knows, at least I thought everyone knew, that you shouldn't stand stock-still in the middle of a New York sidewalk (or any city sidewalk) and stare down at your phone. All around you, people are in a hurry, and you're wasting everybody's time while you text and we divert. Especially when you're standing under scaffolding and everyone has to squeeze past you, single-file.

So yesterday, after a calming and thought-provoking yoga class at Abhaya Yoga, and a beautiful long lunch with my friend Julia, Julia and I went for a stroll in Soho. We happened upon some scaffolding, and beneath it two women standing stock-still, texting. At the time, I was in the middle of making a telephone call, and I didn't hang up my call before (only briefly, and not all that rudely) giving the women a piece of my mind.

"Hello?" the shopkeeper answered, just as I was mid-mini-upbraid.

"Oh," I said. "Sorry, I was just in the middle of telling someone off. But they deserved it."

The shopkeeper gave me the directions I'd asked him for, and a moment later, Julia and I were in his shop, ordering champagne for Monday's party. There, I tried again to explain why I might've been a little rude on the phone to him. I was sorry to have been abrasive; he seemed like a nice man and he'd even cheerily introduced himself as "Vic, like Victor."

And then, Vic-like-Victor gave me one of those delicious New York moments, one of those unforgettable interactions that make you love New York for what it is, warts and all. Vic-like-Victor waited for me to finish apologizing. He cocked his head to one side, and without a hint of irony said, "I don't give a f*ck."

New York, I do love you.

- LIVE from Mongolia will be released Monday, October 21st. Available now for pre-order on Thanks for all your support, all you dreamers out there. I look forward to signing your copy. Especially if you're in Mongolia!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I love this entry and I'm so honored to be in it!!!
What a pleasure it was seeing you the other day. Your openness and curiosity about everything around you is so inspiring!
Book launch tomorrow! Lucky world!