Autumn in New York

You guys? It is fall. Thank GOD. I really hate summer. The sun is my mortal enemy. Most people find this very, very odd, including almost all of my friends, but really, I am pale as moonlight and burn to a crisp even while layered with SPF 50. In summer, I try very hard never to leave my apartment. Plus, in New York the summer is gross and muggy and smoggy and rainy, not hot but dry like in California.

The funny thing about seasons in New York is that they pounce on you like a jungle cat. There’s no gradual decrease in temperature over a few weeks to ease you into another season. Oh, no. One day it’s summer, and the next day it’s fall. Boom, just like that. And winter will come the same way. I guess it keeps you on your toes, but I like some warning. Yesterday I almost left for work with just a t-shirt on, and that would not have been good, because I would’ve frozen to death in the shade.

Yesterday I chatted with Joanna and she was like, “So are you going out to celebrate this weekend?” And I was all, “No, I am SLEEPING. I’ve done enough celebrating.” The thing is that I have a lot of wonderful, supportive friends, AND I’ve been getting a ton of good news in a very small period of time, so this has been a very celebratory week and I was planning on giving myself a little R&R as a reward for all my hard work. But last night, even though I’d decided to stay home, I got roped into going down to 34th St (something I never do except to go to the movies, because the Macy’s/Herald Square/Empire State Building area is my least favorite part of Manhattan but for Times Square) to go sing karaoke.

You guys, it was so much fun. We got our own room and everything and belted out all kinds of ridiculous songs. The only thing about the place was that its selection wasn’t the best–I really wanted to sing “Life Is A Highway”, but they didn’t have it. Nevertheless, two hours of karaoke was magical fun, except now my throat is so hoarse I’m afraid it might totally go by Monday. Whatever! I should probably talk less, anyhow.

Saturday night we went down to Stout (also in the 34th St area, why do I spend so much time down there these days?) to watch the UT game, but UT was wailing on Rice so we left before it was over and headed down to Alphabet City to visit our friends Brett and Monica, who had just gotten finished throwing an engagement party. We went up to the roof of Brett’s apartment building and enjoyed his spectacular view of the Williamsburg and Queensboro Bridges, the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building, and all of Lower Manhattan. Then we went out and, well, the night got weird when a long, confusing conversation came out of nowhere, but I think that’s all settled? I’ll have to wait till tomorrow and see.

Also this weekend I finished a really cool YA book that I picked up off the shelf at work. It’s called Cycler by Lauren McLaughlin, and people have been talking about it a lot on the YA blogosphere because it’s a really funny, clever, slightly unnerving treatment of gender and sexuality. I actually never used to give those issues much thought–I guess that’s what growing up in a politically moderate but socially conservative suburb will do to you, but even when I was in college I was fairly blase about gender and sexuality. It wasn’t until I went to the University of Chicago and then moved to New York and started rooming with a women’s health advocate and reading Jezebel that I started to see what a contentious, amorphous, definition-resisting arena gender is. Diana Peterfreund is giving away a copy of Cycler on her blog (I think you can still enter to win by commenting, but you might want to double-check that) if you want a chance to read a copy of the book before it comes out (which actually isn’t that long from now–WOW September has flown by).

Also (and I know I’m just rambling, please be patient with me, long weekends with very little sleep turn me into a blathering idiot), I went to Borders the other day to buy a specific book and ended up leaving with two other books instead, totally forgetting the one I had originally meant to buy. As you do. I picked up an Agatha Christie novel and also a hardcover copy (which is a big deal for me, I almost never buy them) of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games because people have been just raving about this novel. As far as I know it takes place in a distopian future America where children are forced into a death match for the sport of the rich ruling class. Blurgh. Sounds great, though.

Bits and pieces

For some reason (I think it’s sleep deprivation due to the uncomfortable sauna-like levels of heat in my apartment) I’m super tired, and I don’t have enough energy to put together a coherent post, so I’m falling back on the crutch of all bloggers–the list!

  • Finished In the Woods by Tana French on Sunday and I literally had to lay down and take a nap afterwards because I couldn’t focus on anything else–I couldn’t read another book, I definitely couldn’t write, and I couldn’t even really read or goof off on the internets. It was SO GOOD, you guys. I kind of wish I’d saved Rites of Spring (Break) for after In the Woods because I really needed some kind of balm to soothe my flayed heart. I was very deeply affected by it, and as my dear, brilliant professor William Veeder always said (quoting Henry James), “In the arts, feeling is always meaning.” I wasn’t, unlike some people (a.k.a. facebook reviewers and my coworker Mary), disappointed with the ending, because I really, truly believe that Tana French is telling the truth when she says that she’s not done with Rob Ryan. I think I may have had such a strong reaction because the book is sort of similar to AUT, in that it’s a mystery involving the death of a young girl with a male narrator who is traumatized and fucked up by things in his past who solves the case with a female partner. Rob Ryan reminds me a lot of my protagonist, the character I spent six years crafting and living with, the one who still won’t fade away like an old soldier, who insists on having another book which I’m actually sort of pumped to write even though I know I won’t get to it seriously for a while…anyway. Read In the Woods–it’s beautiful, and I’m not even mad at it like I was at Donna Tartt’s The Little Friend, which means a lot. I’m super excited for The Likeness, which comes out July 17.
  • Discovered the perfect way to get over post-amazing-book depression: Anne Fadiman. (Sorry, this is not to say that Anne Fadiman writes non-amazing books, but I always find that the familiar essay lifts my spirit in the way other genres sometimes can’t.)
  • My busy weekend turned out to be pretty low-key after all. On Friday I had drinks at Cooper 35, this very very cheap Asian pub near Cooper Union, below Astor Place, that we go to sometimes, with Katie and Nikki and their coworker Caroline, then I went home to “do laundry”, a.k.a. read and write. On Saturday I actually did my laundry (er…most of it), then I went to Nikki’s apartment in Brooklyn for lasagna and berry cobbler and games. It was delicious (the food) and fun (the games) and nicely relaxing. The on Sunday I lazed around, finishing In the Woods and writing, and then met up with Carmen, my BFF from college, and her fiance Tim and his sister who lives in D.C. for dinner at La Lanterna in the Village and then drinks at Vol de Nuit, a Belgian beer bar I’ve been known to frequent, where Katie and Cambria joined us. Also, there was lots of lightning and thunder but no rain (which was good, because we were outside), and for a long time we thought it was late-night Pride-related fireworks, but actually now I think not. Yesterday I saw my friend Mike from my Review days (we met at Grand Central for a lunch and catch-up session), then back with Carmen and Tim last night for drinks at The View, the rotating bar at the top of the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, and then dinner at Patsy’s in Union Square. Tonight it’s drinks with University of Chicago people (there are not as many of us in New York as there are people I went to undergrad with in California, curiously) on St. Marks and then over to Cambria’s to wait for the imminent arrival of the San Diego chapter of the 4S–Kim and Jenny! You have no idea how excited I am about this. All four of us haven’t been together in one place since…San Diego, St. Patrick’s Day 2006? Over a year, in any case. It’s a watershed event! So, anyway, my life is full of goings-on, but not quite at the apocalyptic level I had been anticipating. What, me melodramatic?
  • No word yet on developments from the book front. You’ll know when I do/am allowed to say anything.

Um…I think that’s it?  Oh, and I got an air conditioning unit for the living room! So maybe the apartment won’t be sweltering when Kim and Jenny come to stay with me (they’re staying with Bri for the first couple of days). Here’s hoping our super puts it in the window tomorrow. Lata!

Run, don’t walk

I would never know as much about publishing or the business of being a writer (both the writing side and the business side) if it weren’t for two amazing blogs, those of Diana Peterfreund and Ally Carter. First of all, Diana’s new book in the super-fun Secret Society Girl series, Rites of Spring (Break), came out on Tuesday but I cheated and went to the bookstore on Monday hoping they’d already put it out, which they had. I finished it in a two-day gulp, and let me tell you I am so glad (whited out to prevent spoilage) that Amy finally realized how awesome Poe is, because I’ve been rooting for him since he started taking on a bigger role in Under the Rose, and also, that shower scene, HELLO. So definitely check out the series.

Moving on! Ally Carter, who is amazing, just posted 101 Tips for Writers on her blog, and they’re all both amazingly common-sensical and also completely necessary and helpful, especially for writers just starting out. Even though I know most of the tips already, I definitely need reminding, especially on the craft and writer’s block ones, so I’ll probably be revisiting the list often. Run don’t walk!

ETA: Sorry, apparently the link to Ally’s blog wasn’t working, but thanks to Katie’s eagle eye, it is now! I think. Oh, and on the subject of Diana, check out her snazzy new website. Update your RSS feed!