Been a long, long time, hasn’t it? How are you?
I’m good. Great, in fact. Well. Mostly.
If you’re wondering whatever happened to me, don’t feel bad; there are days I wonder the same thing. If only because some days you look up and around you and you wonder, my, where did the time go?
The past six months went a lot of places. I visited gorgeous San Francisco. By all accounts, it was supposed to be cool and foggy in the middle of June, but there was nary a cloud in the sky, and boy did I have a fantastic time, drinking horchata and riding trolley cars and visiting ruins. Eating Ghirardelli chocolate and Mission burritos.
I had always wondered if perhaps San Francisco was another city in which I could live comfortably, like New York is. It was not, alas. It was beautiful, yes, but in many places the houses crowded themselves on each other almost like an American version of what I imagine vistas of slums in South and Central America might be like, and just because the accommodations are nicer doesn’t necessarily allow one more room to breathe.
I visited Pittsburgh, again. I stopped in Pittsburgh on my way back from Denver to Jersey, staying with a dear friend who has since become my dear roommate, and there in Pittsburgh I . . . well, that trip was slightly rushed and hectic, breathless with indescribable anticipation, because that was right before my new dear roommate and I moved, and so we ran many errands and filled up a Budget Rent-a-Truck with a bunch of earthly possessions and a television far bigger and prettier than it had any right to be, and we drove up to Jersey City by way of a brief stop in my hometown to grab my stuff, and we moved.
Which is what it all came down to. I mentioned I was interviewing at my old alma mater, and I got the job, which ended up ultimately being a lot less than the offer they originally made, and I moved back up to Jersey City just a few blocks south of my old college. It was, in many ways, a homecoming, and I can’t describe the degree to which it truly does feel like home.
I always wonder what new years will bring, at least since the one that took me to Los Angeles. I’d hoped that this past year would finally bring a publishing contract, that some mega-agent would finally have to arbitrate a bidding war for my novel (either of them, at this point), but this year brought me home, to New York, to Jersey City. Jersey City, Hoboken, and Newark are, in many ways, more an extension of Manhattan than some of the boroughs; it literally takes me twenty minutes to get to the World Trade Center subway station, and that includes a fifteen-minute walk.
My roommate and I make use of this convenience as often as we can. The Strand (8 Miles of Used Books!) is a favorite spot, as is a particular bar up near the Garden. We’ve eaten food from Bobby Flay and Anthony Bourdain, caught a couple of Broadway shows, bought too much fine Belgian beer at Whole Foods, but for the most part we walk around and enjoy the feel of the conduit of the city around us.
I finished revising a novel a few weeks ago, too. The middle of October, I guess? Something like that. I’m proud of it and like the book a lot, but the great thing is that now I have two good novels (The Prodigal Hour and Meets Girl, for those keeping score [which, incidentally, makes the score explosions to bananas with sunglasses leading]).
I’ve been querying them around. It’s a tough time right now, apparently, and I have had both bites and got-aways. Then again, I’ve only been querying for a month and have already gotten four requests for partials, which is pretty good results in any book you consider. My collection continues to chug along, with nearly five hundred sold and an additional several thousand downloaded across a couple sites, and that’s not even including the Kindle.
Successful? Hey, I’m still proud of my little collection that could.
It’s a little weird to consider that a year ago I was deeply unhappy, in a bad situation, and about to pack my car and drive back to Jersey. I think maybe I’m lucky that I sit here on the first day of December and I can gauge how far I’ve come in a year by the amount of distance traveled, which I think is a couple thousand miles or so, if I’m not mistaken. I like sitting here, in my new chair, before the desk I built next to the bed I built, too; I might feel like I’m finally making home.
I love New York. I’m reminded of it every time I get off a PATH train, every time I smile up at the skyscrapers and the lights.
Six months later, I’m home.