Years of working in Manhattan have turned Liz Nabor into a diehard New Yorker. When her aunt, from whom she has been estranged for years, dies and leaves her a house in Western Washington, Liz is plunged (unwillingly) into a bicoastal life.
When I started writing What She Knew two and a half years ago, I created a character who becomes torn between the life she planned for herself and the life she resists, which is filled with unexpected joy.
I didn’t know I was writing a prayer about my own future.
Before the summer of 2006, I’d never visited New York City and had no desire to do so. Then the stepdaughter enrolled at The Parsons School of Design. After she graduated, she settled in Queens, so we’ve spent a lot of time visiting the city.
After several trips, we found “our” hotel and restaurants we enjoy. Visits include Broadway and off-Broadway shows that lately have left us hungry for more. We spend time with cousins who live in New Jersey. We’ve made friends there, too.
More and more, NYC feels like home…almost.
We love the paradise that is Port Townsend. As we head into summer, it’s all I can do to keep up with the garden’s bounty. If you’ve followed my blog, you know I am passionate about getting my hands in the dirt. We are constantly outdoors, and I enjoy visiting with neighbors who stroll by my house as I work outside.
Still, the city calls to us. Come and play, it says. Have an adventure. We will heed the call in a curious way: by living in New York in the winter.
It sounds strange, but it makes sense to us. We can spend more time with our daughter, and we can also make short trips to Miami to see our son (so we can work around his work schedule). We can take in shows, author talks, and museums in the winter when we’re indoors anyway. Since we don’t have to shovel walks or drive a car, we figure we can handle it.
In the garden, I won’t plant winter squash. I won’t freeze as much fruit. We will leave after the apple harvest and return in time to prune the trees.
We’ll sublet an apartment, and listings are starting to dribble in for our home away from home. My husband found a barber shop in the area of interest. Recently, we enjoyed our first back and foot rubs in Chinatown, even though we have stayed there for years! Research, y’know.
I’m now getting e-mails from the 92nd Street Y and the New York Public Library, both of which offer author talks. Gotham Writers’ Workshop, from which I’ve taken several online courses, offers in-person classes and write-ins in the city.
I’m researching my next novel now so I can draft it during NaNoWriMo. There’s something tantalizing about holing up in a tiny apartment in the winter, where I don’t have to focus on anything but my work.
It feels odd to live in two worlds like this, the small town and the major city. When I gave this situation to Liz Nabor, I never dreamed it would become my life.
I hope to release What She Knew later this year…maybe about the time I start my New York chapter for myself. Stay tuned!