ginger & honey & jazz

I have a cold. It’s mostly gone, down to a lingering cough, but I spent most of the last week preoccupied with being good and thoroughly ill, which was not so fun. I drank a lot of things that involved ginger and honey and whiskey.

Before I succumbed to the Head Cold That Ate Tokyo, I did spend a wondrously lovely evening at The McKittrick Hotel’s Valentine’s Dance.

valentine's dance

There was lovely music and champagne and dancing, of course, and during the Sleep No More portion of the evening I did indeed manage to see things I’d never seen in all my previous visits. And the jazz age attire required rule made everything a bit more surreal in a delicious time-warp way.

Now I’m trying my best to get back up to 100% healthy (I’m probably at 90% right now) and reading an advance copy of Kate Atkinson’s upcoming Life After Life which is absolutely marvelous so far, though I’m only about a third of the way through.

Also I’ve been knitting since my congested brain hasn’t been up for much. I’ll post a picture of the scarf I’ve been working on for ages when it’s finished, which could still be a while.

Still brain-fuzzy and tired but getting better. Still have Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen playing around the back of my mind.

valentine self portrait

miscellaneous non-BEA nyc things.

Other things I did in NYC that did not involve official BEA responsibilities:

I ate a lot of really good food. A lot. My favorite might have been this tiny little South African Wine Bar that my wonderful NYC-dwelling sister put on a list of recommendations for me. I love food on small plates, it enables so much more tasting of things. Also went to David Burke Townhouse which was marvelous and I only wish I’d been able to eat more, because those plates were not so small. The pretzel-crusted crab cake is swoon-worthy. Also there was sushi and cookies and lots of coffee. And chocolate mice, of course. (True confession: had my very first chocolate mouse on this trip. Never actually had one before. Now I have and it was delightful.)

Visited the New York Public Library, I had walked by many times and said hello to the lions but I hadn’t been inside. They have a fabulous centennial display with all manner of writerly wonderments, e.e. cummings’ typewriter and Virginia Woolf’s walking stick. Also, Lego versions of the lions:

There’s very beautiful art tucked in hallways, too, it was like getting to do a bit of museuming which I have sadly lacked in my last few trips to NYC.

Went to Sleep No More. Again. For the record, that’s 4 times for the Brookline run and 3 in NYC. And really, if this was my last time I’m okay with that, it was dark and familiar and new and strange and it’s not just every night that a man in a tuxedo locks you in a room and sits you in a chair and kneels down and lays a sword across your lap and then reads you bible verses. This was also the first time I was ever escorted from the space after the end, gently guided back to the bar to have my mask removed for me. It was a wonderful last moment in case I don’t go back for an eighth visit. Though you never know.

Also, this is what happens when you try to take a photo of a lapin in your hotel window at night, it turns all Times Square Apocalypse on your poor bunny:

It was a fun view at night, though, all glimmery and never still. I really had a marvelous week, surreal and wonder-filled. And then there were zombies at South Station when my train home got in and I had to wheel my suitcase around pools of hopefully fake blood. It likely says something about me or my week that I did not find that surprising or strange.

And now I’ve been back in Massachusetts for a while and I’m slowly getting caught up with everything. I’m moving to Boston in July so that is taking a lot of time and energy, my apologies if blog posts and email responses and such fall a bit lower on the priority list, I am trying my best to keep up, thank you for your patience.

i dreamt i went to manderley again

Okay, adventure recount time, finally! Only about a week overdue.

Last week we went down to NYC for a couple of days.

We went to see Sleep No More. Twice. Because I knew as soon as they announced the NYC run that once would not be enough. (Twice was not enough, either.)

For those of you new to the blog: I am completely, utterly obsessed with Sleep No More. I went four times when they did it up here in Brookline in Fall ’09-Winter ’10. It is immersive Shakespearean Hitchcockian wonderment and if you are in New York or able to get there, stop reading and go get tickets. I’m serious. They recently extended their run through the end of April, and I’m keeping my crossables crossed that they’ll end up going through May when I’ll be back down there, because I would go again in a heartbeat.

This production is similar to the Brookline one but different at the same time. The space is sprawling in comparison to the abandoned school from Brookline, which made it more of a maze. It was easier to get lost, which was fabulous.

The first night, I brought my agent & my editor along. I have a tendency to babble about Sleep No More & Punchdrunk and how inspiring it was when I was revising THE NIGHT CIRCUS, and of course it’s difficult to describe properly so I was thrilled for them to be able to actually experience it for themselves. Considering some of the adjectives used after the fact, I think they liked it.

I wasn’t entirely certain it would be as magical, having seen it so many times in a different space, but it was. I danced with witches and Duncan whispered in my ear. I was given a locket to keep me safe before being pushed, Narnia-style, through the back of a wardrobe. I wandered through dimly lit cemeteries and mazes made of branches and I spent ages in a detective office, reading files and incoming mail.

It is the closest thing I have ever found to walking into a dream.

And I am, of course, very fond of dreams.

There are no proper words to describe my love & giddiness & gratitude to the people who create such things & bring them to life.


And because I am all about themes and hotels, I decided I wanted to stay somewhere appropriate, so I googled “nyc art deco hotel” and stumbled upon the Chatwal, which happened to be running an amazing winter rate at the time so that decision was easy.

This is my fantasy hotel. Like, someone went into my brain and asked “what would Erin want in a hotel?” and came up with something like an updated, intimate, less violent version of Kubrick’s Overlook. The lobby, pictured below in black & white and teased last week in color, just *glows* in this sleek, timeless, welcoming way. It’s an art deco oasis just off of Times Square and I was disappointed only that I had to leave. (And that I couldn’t spend more time in the shower. Best shower ever. Rainfall surrounded by darkness and sparkles. Seriously.)

Each room has a copy of The Great Gatsby, that’s how wonderful this place is.

Suffice it to say, I had a lovely mini-holiday.

Also, the entire trip may have counted as flavor research for my next book. Possibly.

checking in

I have a thing for hotels. Which is kind of strange, considering how rarely I stay in them, but I love the idea of hotels. Especially old hotels.

I also have a thing for vintage objects. My latest vintage Etsy find that I simply had to have is this antique hotel service bell:

And along with the antique hotel service bell (which has a lovely, clear ring), I also have reservations to see Sleep No More in New York in March. Twice. Because I know once will not be enough.

Remember Sleep No More? The immersive Hitchcockian MacBeth I was obsessed with last year when it was in Brookline? It’s back, it’s in NYC, and it’s hotel-themed which is making me swoon.

Seriously, I am so deliriously happy about getting to experience it again (twice!) that even the fresh almost-foot of snow outside cannot dull my glee.

I’m going to go write now. Possibly punctuated with occasional giggling and nice, clear rings from a 100+-year-old hotel bell.

several topics in one post

We went to closing night of Sleep No More on Sunday. I stayed away from the main plot this time, I think I only saw the Macbeths proper once or twice. I wandered through bits of Rebecca made more enchanting by having recently watched the Hitchcock film. Hecate was once again quite fond of my jewelry and this time she pulled me away for private storytime. I saw scenes I’d somehow managed to miss the first three times. It must have been virtually impossible to see everything, and I think that’s part of what made it so magical. I will miss it terribly. Thank You to Punchdrunk & the A.R.T. for such an incomparable experience that I was lucky enough to have four times over, though thank you only begins to encompass what I mean.

Remember how I said I was going to try to have a revised draft of the novel done by my return to Manderley? That was lies. I have a lot done, but it’s nowhere near finished draft proportions. I’ve given up on deadlines, as much as they make that lovely wooshing sound when they go by. Still typing away. Putting word after word and adjusting page after page and hopefully eventually I’ll reach the end.

I tried to come up with things to say about last week’s LOST premiere that weren’t spoilery or convoluted, but really it just boils down to three things:

  • They need to stop killing off the female characters.
  • The “I don’t understand” speech was the best delivery of any line on this show ever.
  • I really hope they can pull this entire conceit off.

Looking forward to seeing where they go from here. Still trying to get used to Tuesday being LOST day, too.

Still mostly all Revisionland, all the time around here. We escaped the snow this weekend but apparently it’s getting back at us tomorrow. Will be hibernating.

i dreamt i went to manderley again

At one point this past Sunday night I was standing alone in a dark room full of artfully illuminated bathtubs. One of them still had a bit of blood in it, but my attention was mostly focused on the tub half-full of water in which a live eel was swimming counter-clockwise circles around and around and around.

A man in a white mask entered from a door across the room and walked toward me. He peered in the tub to see what I was looking at, watched the eel with me for a bit, and then walked out another door, leaving me and the eel alone again.

I was at Sleep No More again, of course. How I missed the eel the first two times is beyond me, but it gives you an idea of how much there is to look at besides the actors. I’m so glad they extended the (now sold-out) run, we have tickets to go again next month before it closes. I will miss it terribly when it’s gone.

I’m in revisionland at the moment, and I’ll hopefully have something resembling a new draft by the time I get to return to Manderley again. I have new text and old text in bits and pieces and divided up into different Scrivener files at the moment, but I think it’s going well. It’s more like writing a new novel with bits of the old one in it, rather than adding new bits to the old version this time, but I think that’s likely a good thing at this point.