The Center for Fiction (in 3 parts)

I. Once, at night, with friends. D. plays the baby grand in the dark, watched by the marble busts crowned with santa hats. B. exclaims over the architecture but the building is creepy at night, empty as it is although the others profess to love the stacks at libraries. It’s a type of old grandeur that one cannot find in the newer buildings of the city. Afterwards, the Rockefeller tree although it hadn’t yet been lit.

II. At the First Novel Fete, S. and I pose with the future first novel prize winner for a photo because, as Tiphanie says, “we’re the most diverse group in the room.” And it’s true. We are starved and so, we head off to the other side of the room, in spite of (or perhaps because of?) the “sexual tension” D. says is there. There is no sexual tension but more potato chips and almonds and of course, wine. It takes the edge off our disappointment.

III. I wear borrowed heels a size too small for the Center‘s benefit dinner. Thankfully, the rain stopped before the dinner began. Right before, a quarrel between the MTA and I but that happens. And before that, an acceptance to a residency in Shanghai in 2015. George Clooney may (will!) be there. I will be there. We will be friends. (This is obviously just wishful thinking except for the fact that I will be there.) It has been a day of ups and downs. I talk to a lady about Chongqing. I’m in love with the people around me at my dinner table, Cynthia Bond and her lovely mother as well as Pamela whose last name I’ve forgotten. Across the table, a famous writer who spends most of the dinner speaking to the older man seated next to him, or looking at his phone. He’s a co-host so I’m surprised he never has to get up and speak nor does he need to interact with the rest of the table. There is champagne, there is Tiphanie winning (the only one of the shortlisted authors I’d met the night before), there’s dessert and free books and trying to get everyone together for photos and afterwards, wondering if all the other parties at the New York Athletic Club are also over and finding out that yes, they are done too.

Writing-wise, a productive week. One story that I’ve been stuck on finally moving forward, a quick 500 word story written for a contest. I’ve also just found out I’ve received a small grant for this book and to hold a public reading (with other Queens writers!) next year at an awesome location. 2015 is going to be exciting. Happy holidays & happy new year!

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