BBC Piece about New York Diaries: 1609-2009

The BBC made a great short film about the book I helped fact check, New York Diaries: 1609-2009, which is coming out in a matter of days!! It was interesting seeing the entries they chose to highlight. I’m going pick some of my own next week.

Bloggers are the 21st century diarists, or I should say, early 21st century. Something else is bound to replace blogs soon. Sadly, I doubt the blogs of today will be tucked into virtual attics somehow and be found a hundred years later the way diaries are.

A memorial for someone named Claude Rolls on West 22nd Street. I thought he must have been a dog walker, all the signs had pictures of dogs. But it turns out that among his many fine qualities he was good with people’s dogs. He died on December 14th, the day he bought a new van which he was very excited about. The article says he wanted to die in that van, and he did!

What would Brian Eno think?

I was at the movies with a friend the other day, and Brian Eno came up briefly. Eno has an a cappella group that he sings with regularly. I knew this, and in fact I have an Eno quote about singing in the beginning of my book. I wondered how my friend knew about Eno’s singing group and he said he loves Brian Eno and reads everything about him.

But it got me to thinking, I should go back and read my book and try to see it through Brian Eno’s eyes. When I’m done with a book I usually go back and read each chapter and ask, “Would I be proud or humiliated if this chapter appeared in the pages of the New Yorker?” (My pinnacle of writing and writers.) I’d like this book to be compelling for non-singers, but I’d also like it to be something someone like Brian Eno couldn’t put down.

A church on 10th Avenue (I think, I can never trust my memory).

So? How was it for you?

I started this post yesterday, was interrupted, and then I never got back to it. The same thing is about to happen and so I feel I need to say something, anything at all, even if it is not much!

I had an incredible Christmas, so many wonderful gifts, some of which I plan to photograph later. But now I must swim! Lucky, lucky me, that I get to have a life with enough leisure to swim!

How was everyone else’s holiday?

I took this on Christmas eve, at Petco, where Kittykind, a cat rescue organization, has cats for adoption. Even on Christmas Eve, the volunteers were hard at work taking care of the cats (and people were there checking out the cats).

Merry Christmas!

I went out for a walk last night after the most spectacularly bad day of writing EVER. I worked for six hours on only two paragraphs and I never got them right. Six hours! On two paragraphs! I’m not exaggerating. I just kept refusing to give up and I kept working on them and then it became “I can’t give up now after all this time because then all this time would have been for nothing,” it was as insane as writing insanity can be.

Worse, the paragraphs were about singing Ave Maria to my dying mother. All Christmas Eve long, that was what I was focused on.

Thank God I finally made myself step away from the computer and go out for a walk. This guy who had been selling wreathes at Union Square just started walking around and giving them away. I followed him and it was so much fun to watch. Person after person getting a surprise gift. He must have had a ball.

Man Giving Away Christmas Wreathes in Union Square

I cheered up quickly, thank God. The memory I was describing isn’t a bad one per se. I mean it is, but it’s bittersweet now. I bought myself some egg nog ice cream, came home, and watched TV. After checking Santa’s progress on Norad and Google Earth. He was up to Brazil where I have friends so that was nice.

Man Giving Away Christmas Wreathes in Union Square

Christmas Eve in NYC

I’m torn. I really need to work on my book, but it’s Christmas Eve out there. I want to go to the Met to see the tree and to remember singing there, the Frick for the Vermeers and this was someone’s life, and to just walk around and take in the sights and the people and take pictures.

That reminds me, I saw my first real shopping crowds yesterday. They were all at food places on Bleecker Street, and the biggest one was at a butchers, where the line was around the block. Other than that, for the most part, all the stores around me have been empty every day. If you went by my experience, no one is getting gifts this year. Or, just meat.

Looking down into a below-street-level store.