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Visit to NYC, Back in CA

After Japan we were in NYC for a few days. This city always feels so cozy to me. New Yorkers actually are quite friendly. People love it when you ask them directions or advice, seriously. Everyone’s proud of their mastery of the Great Maze. Eight million experts to call upon.

We stayed in the Gershwin, one of the last reasonably priced non-chain hotels in mid-town, now that the dear old Gramercy is gone. Unfortunately the Gershwin beds are very small. What with the jetlag from Japan, we slept really badly. Nights like that, it’s such a joy to see the sun come up so you can stop trying to sleep.

The reason we were in NYC was to visit with our daughter Georgia, our son-in-law Courtney, and their new son. I don’t like to post many family pictures on the blog, but take it from me, my new grandson is lovely. He likes sitting in one of laps with everyone talking. A natural instinct: it’s good be in the group.

It was so great to hold him in my lap and gaze into his face. When not busy sleeping, nursing, or crying, he looks at things lot. He’s only three weeks old, so he doesn’t know anything about forming facial expressions, so I can only speculate what it’s like in his mind. Wonderfully mysterious.

I was thinking—the Great Mystery of the Beyond stretches out past death and before birth. The endless Night. The baby’s just come in from that place. I was visualizing our little family group as a tribe around a campfire, with the baby just now appearing at the fringes of the circle of light, peering in, full of some knowledge we’ve lost.

Welcome, dear grandson!

Georgia and her family live in Queens, and some of the stores still look so 1940s, long and thin, with the counter way in back. I really dug this old-school Duck toy. New York is as bizarre as Japan, really, but it’s harder to step outside your previous experience and notice this.

Great Hopperesque Metro stops where the line pops up to be an elevated train. Clack and rumble.

We were in a Greek neighborhood; they’d really fixed up their bar. Like a pachinko parlor, almost. A non-Puritan presentation of the old watering hole, that’s for sure.

I didn’t have much time for biz, but did manage to get together with my Tor publicist Patty Garcia. I found out that, whoah, she plays bass in a vibby garage punk band called The Rats!

And now I’m back in Sunny Californee, working on Hylozoic again. I put a lot of energy into the Postsingular Free Download website over the last few days, exulting over the many downloads of the electronic book (15,000 so far!), worrying about which Creative Commons license to use, posting new ports of the book, etc., doing most of this from my wireless laptop.

It’s been almost like living inside the book. Transreal blowback…that’s when your SF novels invade your llife. It’s been exciting, and I have an inkling for a transreal story involving an unworldly mad scientist’s mixup with CC licenses,,,

Now I have to get ready for my art show coming up this weekend, there’s still a few pieces on paper to mat and frame.

I’m working on HYLOZOIC, too, I’m almost done writing Chapter 6 (out of a total of 8). I slipped in a word-sketch of a Shinto temple that I’ll reprint here. But first let me set the scene…. The invading Peng birds have a way of coding themselves up as mental images called runes. They send the rune codes telepathically to Chu in the Yolla Bolly Middle Eel wilderness in Northern California, and he can use the runes to reconstitute the Peng as matter holograms via a mental gimmick called Chu’s Serpent. Chu was practicing making moths, and now the geeky alien called Kakar is trying to get Chu to import his lover, Floofy.

[Begin quote from Hylozoic manuscript.]

“I’ll get you the rune, Kakar told Chu impatiently.” He closed his eyes, swaying and twitching his wings, soaking up the Floofy rune from afar. And now he showed it to Chu.

The Floofy rune was more complicated than the moth rune. Chu saw a square wooden temple with a roof that curled up at the corners. Oily rushes burned within the sanctum; the light bounced glints off shelf upon shelf of gilded birds and beetles. The rafters were painted orange, with cloudy presences at the corners. Cascades of jewels dangled from the beams, beaded onto threads, each gem etched with a glyph. In the shadow of the altar, a trio of shiny black frogs played instruments: a bone flute, a log drum, a tendon-strung fiddle, the music sounding random and wrong.

“Thats a code for Floofy?” said Chu.

“Thats her to a tee,” burbled Kakar. “Wait till you meet her. Can you and your Serpent handle a rune this big?”

[End quote from Hylozoic manuscript.]

2 Responses to “Visit to NYC, Back in CA”

  1. COOP Says:

    Good luck with the art show! please don’t freak out the night before, like I always do!

  2. Philip Shropshire Says:

    Also: Good luck with the show. I also thought you might be interested in this story:

    It just seems that this is kind of what you’re dreaming of. Or something that you’ve already dreamt of and find old fashioned.

    Philip Shropshire

    PS: I think this would be a good story for Flurb:

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