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May 5th, 2009

NYPL Panel

It was wonderful.

We were having a real New York Spring Day(tm), birds tweeting, balmy breeze blowing, tender green leaflets on every tree that was adorned with blossom (pink or white). I had visions of a room empty save for the three panelists, Elizabeth Bird who organized the event, Ellen, and Sharyn-my-editor, who had promised faithfully to be there.

How wrong I was.

Every seat was taken, standees at the back, eager faces focused on us, us, us while Betsy encouraged us to talk about New York history and childhood influences and mythology and sewers and underground train-lines and fairy tale and books we loved and other fantasies about New York and other things I've forgotten. The strangest thing about it all was that none of us was actually living in New York when she wrote her book. I was in Boston, Katherine Marsh lives in DC, and I can't remember where Kirsten Miller was, but it wasn't New York. We did not talk about homesickness as inspiration on the panel, but we could have.

What we did talk about was how our obsessions inform our work. Katherine Marsh spoke eloquently about her love of Greek mythology and New York history. Kirsten Miller was very funny on the subject of sewers and abandoned underground passages and rooms--and New York history. I went on, as is my wont, on the subject of folklore and fairytale--and New York history.

In short, we had a good time, and I think the audience did, too. At least they were wonderfully responsive and intelligent, asked good questions, and listened so closely to the answers you could hear their ears quivering. And afterwards, nine of us retired to Bryant Park, where GraceAnne DiCandido had snabbled us a table under the trees. She also supplied us with wonderful, delicious, rich cupcakes from Crumbs, which, with the addition of hot beverages from Pain Quotidien, made a lovely al fresco high tea.

And then we walked down to 22nd Street to meet friends for dinner before Cycle A of the Yeats Project, passing all the button, trim, and notions shops on Broadway and 6th Avenue, with their windows full of lace and bullion and cunning little appliques and spools and spools of lovely brocaded ribbon I used to think would make my clothes look medieval, but never did.

A perfect day. And it's been chilly and rainy and nasty ever since. Oh, well. At least I'm getting work done.

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