I'm back home, a day late and a certified survivor of Snowmageddon 2010.
My adventure began a few hours before I left California late Monday, when Alison (who works for my publisher Abrams, invited me out to speak to the Bookbinders' Guild, and made the travel arrangements) e-mailed that the airline had cancelled my flight. Curiously, the airline's website seemed to think everything was fine and on schedule. Two different customer service reps gave Alison and me two different answers. I left for the airport figuring I had a 50/50 chance of a plane being there for me. One was. We later realized that the airline had sent Alison an e-mail cancelling my return flight on Wednesday. Their original e-mail never specified which flight they meant, and we assumed it was the earliest. So I left San Francisco at midnight Monday suspecting I was on a one-way trip.
The red-eye arrived at JFK airport at 8 a.m. ET Tuesday, so I was totally fresh and energized when I reached the Manhattan apartment of Editor Charlie and his wife, the Lovely Rachel. Charlie went to work while I cleaned up and then met him at Abrams.
After spending the afternoon meeting people at Abrams, reconnecting with some I'd already met, and talking a little business, Charlie and I reported to the stately Random House tower for the Bookbinders' Guild panel, which we thought went well and seemed to get a good response. About 30 people showed up for wine, hors d'oeuvres, and us. The topic was "Which Came First: The Book or the Blog?" and the first speaker was literary agent Kate Lee, who carved out a career finding and bringing web content to print when few people had thought to do such an outrageous thing. Her presentation was very interesting, a good complement to ours I thought. Then Charlie and I did our Abbott & Costello routine--focusing mostly on Mom's Cancer but also comparing and contrasting with WHTTWOT. We took some good questions, I signed some books, then we went to dinner.
Wednesday morning I slept in. Don't know why I was so beat. I later met Charlie and Assistant Editor Sofia for lunch, where we really dove into what I hope will be my next book that I hope will be published by Abrams. They had a lot of good questions, new and challenging ideas, and I came away a little daunted by the work I have to do but genuinely energized about doing it. This was the first professional-grade feedback I've gotten on my idea and it was constructive and useful. When the book comes out and I mention in the acknowledgements how it wouldn't have been possible without them, it's this lunch I'll have in mind.
On Charlie and Rachel's suggestion, I went to the Museum of Modern Art to see an exhibition on the work of director-cartoonist-animator Tim Burton, which I thought was terrific. I may have enough thoughts on that to support an entire other blog post. For now, I'll say that if you have any interest in seeing a prolific creative mind at work and play, in a wide variety of media including animation, drawings, sculpture and film, it's worth a visit.