New York State of Mind-less…Part II

by Debra Chappell

View from Madison Square Park:

Mood Reading:  ZZZZ’s (worked all day in the yard yesterday and slept like a rock!)

Before I get to the second day of my visit to New York City and the meeting with my literary agent – I will apologize once again for not getting this out sooner. This week the weather has been just too gorgeous and the dirt was calling to me.  It seemed every time I sat down at the kitchen counter to write something I’d think, “oh — just one more petunia to plant” or “maybe I’ll just get that one little patch weeded.”  Finally, I realized nothing was going to get written until my weeding was done and the flowers were in (call me OCD, but it’s a thing I have about getting the pots planted before mid-May…as if anyone other than the deer and me notices anyway!)

So… on my second day in NYC I woke up really earlier as I was scheduled to have lunch with my agent and had a million things swirling around in the ol’ noggin’.  I stepped out of the hotel and into the morning rush in search of a cup of coffee and some oatmeal.  Yes, there are literally thousands of joints in the city to grab a bagel and cream cheese with every topping known to man, but I was determined to start this day off healthfully so passed up several before finding a café that would oblige my request of simple porridge.

When I finished my oats, I sat sipping my coffee and only occasionally glanced up to ponder the variety of people coming and going while going over all my notes and thoughtfully prepared list of questions to discuss with Erica, my agent.  Questions about her process once the final manuscript is received, which publishers she would be marketing to, if she had a preferred timeline, what I should expect once the re-writes were finished etc. etc.  Yep, every thought, concern, query, scenario and still nagging doubt I had was painstakingly listed on a couple of 5 X 8 index cards that could be retrieved from my handbag as needed.  Comfortable that I had covered everything, I walked around 5th avenue a bit before returning to my hotel to get ready.

When I had planned for my trip, I envisioned a sunny New York City replete in all its springtime glory, and I had packed accordingly.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature failed to consult my stylist and I found myself a bit unprepared for the cold drizzle.  No matter, I put on my new bright pink “Jackie O” jacket from J. Crew, pearls and heels and hoped the predicted rain would hold off until after my lunch at least.  I hailed a cab outside my hotel and made my way to SD26, the restaurant where we were to meet, located just adjacent to Madison Square Park and Erica’s office.

I walked in and saw her right away – she waved me over and I sat down.  After the obligatory “how was your trip” and “where are you staying” pleasantries, Erica started talking… and talking.  She had read a few of my revised chapters, she liked them, she had some additional ideas and encouraged me to keep working. Regarding the time frame, she told me not to worry, it was more important to get it done right, than to get it done quickly.  Time wasn’t at all an issue.

She asked how things were working out with Supurna, my editor, and I told her truthfully that I just loved working with her and that I’d be meeting with her the following day. One thing led to another and all of a sudden we were talking about our mother’s, our husbands, family stuff, job frustrations and the issues all women face.  She offered her insight and commentary, and little amusing anecdotes that I found I identified with, and that pleased me. Though we are from obviously different worlds both professionally and geographically, I discovered that underneath her high profile professional persona she’s a lot like me, and like the women in my book.  Perhaps that’s what drew her to the story in the first place — the unique and strong connection between women.  Though I realize I still have work to do in the remaining chapters, I considered it a victory that I’d struck that particular chord with her.

After almost 2 hours, we left the restaurant and I walked her back to her building on the corner of Madison and 26th.  She asked me if I was going to do any sight seeing and I mentioned that since I was in the “Flat-Iron” district, I was hoping to see the Flat-Iron building that I’d read about recently in the novel “Clara and Mr. Tiffany”, a book-club selection.  When it was built in the early 1900’s, it was heralded as an architectural feat, so long and narrow that many feared a strong wind could blow it over.  I asked her if it was in walking distance.  She paused and smiled “Yes, it’s just on the other side of the park there – if you look through the trees you can see it!”

I said my goodbyes and left Erica and as I walked through the park, marveled at the lush green island in the middle of the soaring city-scape and a tulip bed in full, riotous bloom.  I took several pictures of the historic Flat-Iron building and was amazed, like those before me, at its unusual narrow structure.  It was only when I headed back to the hotel past the street vendors, amid the throngs of city dwellers, under the clearing skies of New York City in Springtime that I realized the list of questions I had so painstakingly prepared for Erica was still tucked away in my handbag, untouched…unasked…and apparently, unnecessary after all.

To be continued…