Bill and I flew from Seattle to New York City yesterday in order to attend Thrillerfest.
From the time I was a little girl growing up in Bisbee, Arizona—the proverbial ‘girl from a small mining town in the West’—I heard the siren call of New York City. I wanted to be a writer, and NYC was the heart of the publishing industry. Was then; still is.
I didn’t necessarily want to LIVE in NYC, but I wanted to go there and experience it. I wanted to feel like one of the insiders. During my first trip to NYC, in the late sixties, I was awestruck by the canyons of buildings; by the hustle and the bustle of the people on the street; by the traffic; by the noise; by the shows. In other words, by just about everything. All of that, however, was long before I first put finger to keyboard on the long journey to becoming a writer.
But now, I are one—a writer that is, and that’s how I came to New York yesterday, as one of the cadre of writers doing conference events and appearances for Thrillerfest.
Yesterday, as we prepared to land at JFK Airport, the pilot warned us that it might be a little bumpy, and it was, but the tarmac outside the windows of the plane was dry as dust. By the time we were well inside the airport, a cloudburst hit, and when the luggage finally turned up on the carousel, it was wet. Later, when we went outside to get into our shuttle, there were puddles of water standing at the curbs, but by then the rain itself was long gone. We rode into the city with that iconic cityscape backlit by a shimmering golden sunset. It was breathtakingly beautiful.
The ride was smooth. Our limo driver, clearly a professional, was also an expert in handling the traffic issues. I found myself baffled by the rules for merging and traveling through packed intersections, and I can’t for the life of me understand why so many places allow double parking. All the better reason to leave our in-city driving to someone who understands the local rules and customs of the road.
Today, at noon, I did an outdoor event at the Bryant Park Reading Room for the New York Public Library. It was hot and muggy under a canopy in the park with just enough of a breeze to keep the panelists from keeling over but not enough to keep us from losing our makeup. It was a Q and A sort of presentation with several of us relating the trails and trials that brought us to writerdom.
Afterwards there was time for signing and that, for me, turned out to be the best part. An African American woman who had been sitting in the far back came up to my section of \ tables. She said that her name was Josephine. She had been walking past and just happened to see that I was there. Since she’s read all my books, she stayed on to listen, and she wanted to know if I would mind if she took a selfie. I didn’t mind although, at 84 degrees with 54 percent humidity, I knew my hair was a mess. We took the photo and she went on her way.
What I’m kicking myself about now is that I didn’t ask to take a selfie in return so I could post it here. The problem is, I am a woman of a certain age. The whole concept of selfies is somewhere well outside my wheelhouse.
With any kind of luck, however, I’ll remember to do better for the remainder of the weekend. Some of my literary heroes will be here, and I’m looking forward to meeting them.
Yes, this is indeed a “wonderful town.”