Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"From an uptown apartment to a knife on the A train/It's not that far."

The Song: "Walking Down Madison," Kirsty MacColl. Words & music by Kirsty MacColl and Johnny Marr. Track 1 of Electric Landlady, 1991.
How/when acquired: Purchased used CD, c. 1994.
Listen/watch here.

It's an interesting life I lead, I'll be the first to admit. My daily life is a constant scramble, and in many ways I live more like a college student than like a real grown-up. But I have friends and clients who are real grownups and very prosperous, and invite me into their worlds, which I appreciate very much.

Yesterday I visited one of those worlds, for a luncheon and reception to celebrate this year's winner of the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction, Secret Keepers by Mindy Friddle. I've been honored to serve as a judge for that award for the past two years, and Secret Keepers was one of my favorite novels of last year.

Last night's reception was a lovely event at the New York Yacht Club. I'd never been there; it is a spectacular Gilded Age building, full of America's Cup memorabilia. It's a visit to another world in many ways: dazzling, enchanting.

But New York is a city of contrasts, as Kirsty MacColl notes. From the opulence of the Yacht Club, I walked across town to the N-Q-R train, which I took to Brooklyn. Along the way I passed people sleeping on the sidewalk, tired house cleaners on their way home, parents with small children up way past a suburban bedtime, and signs in at least five different languages.

The whole world lives in New York City, but I'm headed home today.

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