"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Friday, March 28, 2008

Country Mouse/City Rat

I'm trying to be both.

Apologies--another hotel room photo. I'm not likely to forget what country I'm in. It's breezy today, but so far not rainy as threatened.

I walked a couple of blocks this morning with author chums for an off-site breakfast. They ate breakfast, I drank coffee, having consumed my usual banana in the room. The geographic diversity in our group equalled one Australian (who flew in from Oz via the UK), one from the Chesapeake region, a Californian, and me, the New Englander. One is a nominee for a pestigious award, the other is a perennial NYT bestseller (she and I have the same agent), three of us write in multiple genres. We talked of real life (as opposed to the writing life and biz)--family, travels, politics.

Our conference keynote speaker was outstanding. Knowledgeable about so many aspects of the writing trade--playwright, tv scriptwriter (sitcom and drama), college professor, writer for film, and most recently--novelist. In fact, she was the only newbie novelist in the ballroom. Members of this organisation have, on average, published 16 novels. You must publish at least two to qualify for membership.

The morning panel consisted of three literary agents discussing the "breakout career"--as opposed to the "breakout novel".

This particular conference is an annual one, but every other year it's in New York City. I never miss the NY conference, and never fail to get something substantial out of it.

All my previous endeavours and my current profession have a New York nexus. Theatre. Radio-Tv-Film. Publishing.

I've been bouncing in and out of this city since I was a teenager. In my aspiring actress days, I instantly recognised that living and struggling and suffering and starving for Art in this environment was Not My Style. (Other friends made a different choice.) Ditto for the broadcasting phase. I've shown up here from time to time that my agent or an editor might wine and dine me. Or for this writers' conference. But I'm always gladder to depart than I am to arrive.

However...the Chap informed me this morning that there's snow in NH. The Lodge lies in the 4 to 8 inch zone. What's nice about this is that we will probably exceed that historic annual snowfall rate, and make new history, but we ourselves don't have to suffer through it. From that perspective alone, this trip is already worthwhile!

When people say "Did you go South this winter to escape the record snow?" we can reply, "Why, yes, we did. We went all the way to New York."

I'm still chuffed about yesterday's trip. Before air travel became so frustrating (pre 9/11), we'd hop from Manchester NH to LaGuardia and into Manhattan. Since then, we've driven from the Lodge to CT, spent the night and left the car, and taken a commuter train into the City. Coming by train is by far the nicest way to get here.

In addition to conferencing, we're brunching with my dearest (I won't say oldest) actor friend tomorrow. On Sunday we're getting togther with my novelist cousin and his literary agent wife. So I will escape the hotel, and I'll be sure to take the camera along!

A nice surprise about this hotel is the fact that it's sandwiched between a Franciscan monastery and another one here on W. 31st Street. At intervals, above the roar of the city, I can hear bells from one or the other ringing the hour. It's lovely and other-worldly.

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