Home from NYC…


What a BLAST! 

I had an amazingly incredible meal at 5 NINTH with my very best friend in the universe. I drank martinis and ate caviar (CAVIAR!) which I don’t actually like, but STILL!  I ate steak tartar and fish and an amazing beet salad and short ribs and a fabulous vegetable dish that was listtle tastes of all sorts of amazing things. Roasted radishs and tiny peas and zuchini blossoms. OH MY!

The next morning I woke up and got dressed and went out to walk (which is what I do in NY. One time I walked from 86th street downtown, and over to Brooklyn, alone). But the room I had slept in was windowless, and so I was shocked to find myself on the street in pouring rain.

POURING! So what’d I do?

I bought an umbrella. I yellow one. And then I walked and walked. 

There is an amazing choreography of umbrellas, in a city with dense pedestrian traffic.  As you bump shoulders, someone has to raise up their umbrella over the other person’s umbrella. So then there’s a canopy of different colored umbrellas. I LOVE IT!

I walked uptown, to Columbus Circle, where the lovely Ali met me, and we were off for lousy coffee and good conversation in a conveniently-located but thoroughly mediocre diner.  It was just right for the rainy day. Orange vinyl and all. The kind of place where you can sit all day.  Where a yellow umbrella looks at home.

Then I hoofed it to Random House, for the CRAZIEST DAY EVER!  Lunch was at Maison–Welsh rarebit and a nice salad (it was cold and I needed bone warming) followed by chocolate crepes. 

 With my truly perfect publishing team. 

And this is where I start to get REALLY GUSHY!

I am the luckiest duck in the world. Really.  I do not know how it has happened, but I have fallen smack dab into some magical world of family-style-publishing from the dream of a Stegner novel. The fantasy land where agents last forever, and editors let you try crazy things.  Where books get made with love and integrity.  Where you have a few drinks and open yourself up and then feel safe and valued and pleased.  Where you get to be an actual  writer.

I met with all kinds of people, from assistants to publishers (and even the daughters of said publishers— HEY, LUCY!) and they were not scary. They did  not make me feel small. They were warm and friendly and excited. They baked me (REALLY, I’m not kidding!) blackberry cobbler (I love you, Whitney!) like the one in my book. They served me lemonade and we sat around and had a little party.  They asked me questions. They answered my questions. They did not stare at my frizzy-from-40-blocks-in-the-rain hair, or my backpack.  They laughed at my jokes and allowed me to tell inappropriate stories (which I do when I get a little nervous).

I got to see the finished art, and a shiny cover, and we talked about the cover for the next book. I learned some things about marketing and publicity and distribution, but…

But mostly we just got to know each other. Faces, laughs, voices. Which is so startling and exciting and wonderful in this oh-so-virtual world.  Real people. My co-workers, kinda.  The people who are making is possible for me to write books.

I love them.

I don’t know how to explain this so that you can fully comprehend how warm it was.  How  welcome, and comforting– and also surprising. It felt shocking–

I hear so much about the evils of the cutthroat publishing world.  I have always been prepared to be disappointed. 

It felt like the opposite of the stories I hear. Like some  weird dream, this family of smart people who do good work and want to be friends.

How can it be? 

Do not wake me up.

(Then I came home to my babies. I came home on the train, to “tuggle”.  And that was even better. Like I said, I am a LUCKY DUCK!)

3 Responses to “Home from NYC…”

  1. Kris Says:

    Wow, Laurel!! Magical and FANTASTIC! I am so pleased for you and I thank you for sharing. Truly wonderful!! I stop in to your blog every now and again and am always delighted by it. You have a gift for language and for making people smile. I have no doubt that there are many many books in your future . . . Way to go!!

  2. SarahP Says:

    Yaaaay! What a great day. Especially the part about the chocolate crepes. And the cobbler, mmmm.

    Have you read Dear Genius yet? Letters of Ursula Nordstrom, venerable HarperCollins editor (who discovered Maurice Sendak designing shop windows for FAO Schwartz, among other things). Gives you a great sense of that warm, falling-in-love-with-books part of publishing that we don’t hear enough about.

    You lucky duck, seeing it in person!

  3. Betsy Taylor Says:

    Hi, Laurel. Remember me from Paul Guest and Meecham last year? I haven’t checked in with you in a while, so it’s great to hear you’re doing well. Congratulations on all your good fortune. Your New York story inspires!

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