Wandering the Streets of Manhattan, Thinking Thoughts

From the… WHAT? Photo from the streets of SoHo.

I’m back from wandering the streets.

Before I went wandering, in the morning my writing group met—I don’t know what to call it; it’s a “writing group” in the simplest of ways: We get together in a group once a week; we write. We’re each writing separate things—a nonfiction book, a screenplay, a play, an adult novel, a YA novel, a middle-grade novel (guess which two are mine). There are three of us who’d been at the MacDowell Colony at the same time who meet at a café once a week to write together. We talk some, then sit at the same big table and do some work. It’s not about sharing it afterward or critiquing. It’s simply about having another human body there with you who also needs to get writing done. It’s a good thing to look forward to every week.

After writing group, I started walking south, through SoHo. I had it in mind to buy this adorable silver gray mini travel suitcase I saw at Muji to take with me when I go away this weekend. (I LOVE Muji, so clean and simple.) It wasn’t that long of a walk, even with my backpack. But just as I set foot on the sidewalk, it began to rain. By some twist of disorganization I had an umbrella in my backpack only because I’d forgotten to take it out some days before. So I start winding my way through the streets, not in any rush, thinking.

What thoughts was I thinking?

About novels that are out of my hands and about novels that could be in my future.

About this weekend and what I may write on this little retreat I’m going on with a friend.

About how I seem to think better when it’s raining, and how I seem to think better when I’m wandering the streets, and how combined—wandering the streets in the rain!—I think the best out of all.

You’ve heard of treadmill desks, right? (Here’s my friend Joëlle about hers.) I could use a rolling sidewalk desk. Maybe a desk on one of those moving walkways they have at airports on beautiful graffiti-decorated Crosby Street.

Maybe I would have ironed out all the holes in this new novel idea by now.

Oh and I reached Muji, saw the price tag on the cute silver suitcase, and ran out of the store empty-handed. I guess “BONJOUR” (my Chinatown suitcase, which has the word BONJOUR all over it, and which caused me some small shame while wheeling it through the Latin Quarter in Paris some years ago when I went there with my sister) will be taking a trip with me this weekend after all.

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