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Filling the well


I've been trying to convince myself that much of what I've been doing lately is refilling the well. And to be honest, it's probably helping me to refill my creative well, but man, have I been draining my batteries.

Yesterday, I enjoyed a ridiculously hot sunny day in New York City, which involved more walking than I generally do (and probably more than is actually healthy for me, given some of my health restrictions). Also? It was hot. And humid. And parts of the bottoms of my feet are still complaining about it, big-time. But I digress.

Hubby and I met my cousin Sue and her husband, Jerry, for a day out. Sue & Jerry both grew up in one of the parts of New Jersey that you can't get to from here (or from anywhere else), but they now live in South Carolina. (It was Jerry's daughter whose wedding I attended last weekend.) Only this weekend, they're in NJ, and so yesterday, they went into NYC, and we met them there. We enjoyed an expensive but delicious lunch, got ourselves tickets to see A Chorus Line at TKTS, visited the "Top of the Rock", had a drink, saw the show, ate a very late dinner and went home.

About the "Top of the Rock": For a fee, you can take a relatively fast elevator to the top of Rockefeller Center, where there's an observation deck. The elevator lets you off on the 68th floor, where we were told we could "follow the signs to take the escalator to 69". (I totally chortled at that instruction. I am so very juvenile.) On the wall inside the visitor's staging area, I saw this lovely quote from Abby Rockefeller:

"To me art is one of the great resources of my life. I feel that it enriches the spiritual life and makes one more sane and sympathetic, more observant and understanding, as well as being good for one's nerves."

Seeing that quote reminded me that I was filling the well, with the view of the island of Manhattan, including the large green area known as Central Park. And in the overhearing of conversations of other people, some of whom were speaking other languages. It was a nice reminder of the smallness of the world.

About A Chorus Line: I first saw the show with my high school boyfriend. Which means that it had to be at least 28 years ago that I saw a touring company perform the show in the big city: Corning, NY, I think, although it may have been Binghamton. Last night, I saw the current Broadway revival featuring Mario Lopez. Who is totally cut, by the way, and was displaying not only his dimples but his serious guns in the role of choreographer/director Zach. But I digress. Oh how I love some of the music from the show. Not just "What I Did For Love", which is awesome. My favorite song is probably "At the Ballet". The show was great, although I did wish that the female lead (who plays Cassie) had been there; her understudy was a bit pitchy here and there. However, our half-price seats? In rows 5 and 6 of the orchestra, not far from where the aforementioned Mr. Lopez walked up and down the aisle. So really, I cannot complain.

From that show, I realized that seeing all that dedication and singing and dancing (in a show about, well, dedication and singing and dancing) was not only enjoyable, but inspiring. I can't point to one specific line or lyric that does it for me, but if you've got a few minutes, check out the lyrics to the song "Nothing".


We got home so late last night that it was actually early this morning. As in, after 3 a.m. Ouch! I did sleep a bit late, but I was up in time to meet Jenn Hubbard (writerjenn) at an independent children's bookstore over in Haverford, Pennsylvania called Children's Book World, where Jenn introduced me to the owner. We both met the teen book specialist, who really knows her stuff. Did I leave with a bagful of books? No. But only because I declined her offer of a bag. (I left with an armful, however.)

If you are interested in supporting independent bookstores who really know their stuff when it comes to children's books, this store is for you. The organization is a bit difficult to pick up easily, but the friendly, knowledgeable staff can find anything they have in a trice.

After a few minutes' conversation with Jenn after the bookstore, she headed for the train and I headed for The Franklin Institute in downtown Philadelphia, where I met hubby and our friends Bob and Joanne for a museum outing. I confined myself to a snack and some sitting down (my feet are still hot & sore from yesterday!) until our appointed tour time to see the REAL PIRATES! exhibit. Turns out that Barry Clifford spent about 20 years researching, locating, and hauling up parts of a pirate ship that wrecked off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. So I learned a lot about the Whydah Galley (pronounced wee-dah; its name comes from a slave town on the west coast of Africa located in what is currently Benin).

If you are interested in slave ships or pirates, this exhibit is for you. Yes, you read that correctly. Turns out the Whydah was originally a slave ship. After its capture by pirates, it stopped hauling human cargo (apart from the occasional prisoner of war or coerced crewmate). The museum exhibit includes an excellent summary of the Middle Passage slave trade before the actual piracy information is introduced.

Some of the piracy information really caught my eye. So I stopped and copied stuff down into my little Moleskine cahier along the way, including a wonderful sentence about how Barry Clifford started his search for pirate treasure at the library. (The precise quote is, alas, out in my car, and I'm not about to go find it for you. But you get the picture, methinks.)

After the pirates, we had a lovely dinner at an Italian restaurant. And now, to bed.

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( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 20th, 2008 06:22 am (UTC)
My favorite song from A Chorus Line is "Dance: Ten; Looks: Three". Because apparently, I am rather juvenile as well :).
Jul. 20th, 2008 12:21 pm (UTC)
I forgot that was technically the name of it, since I always jump straight to the chorus.
Jul. 20th, 2008 07:22 am (UTC)
Teen and I saw Chorus Line when we were in NYC. I saw the show eons ago with the original cast. Pricilla Lopez was AMAZING. But the show really holds up well and I thought it was still great!

And I agree. At The Ballet is wonderful. To be able to tell three compelling stories like that in one song. Sigh. Lovely.
Jul. 20th, 2008 12:22 pm (UTC)
Did teen love it? I'm debating whether to rush up there with the girls before it closes, or take them to Wicked (which M really wants to see) instead.
Jul. 20th, 2008 10:11 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you're out and having fun. I miss you.
Hooray for fun and well-filling!
Jul. 20th, 2008 12:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks you, kind stranger.
Jul. 20th, 2008 10:13 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you're out filling. :)
Jul. 20th, 2008 12:23 pm (UTC)
Filling is one way to look at it. Wearing myself out is another.
Jul. 20th, 2008 10:52 am (UTC)
Sounds like you have been out on the town(s) having lots of fun! I've always found pirates to be chilling rather than fun, and this connection to the slave trade fits right in with that. Sounds like a sobering exhibit.

Hope you can put your feet up today and rest.
Jul. 20th, 2008 12:28 pm (UTC)
The actual depiction of pirates in this exhibit was an interesting one. Turns out that on most pirate ships, everyone got along well with little to no backstabbing. Onboard was an egalitarian society where each person got the same share and leaders were elected. No color bar, either, so blacks and Native Americans were treated the same as whites, share & share alike.

The exhibit made clear that they did do awful things (throw people overboard, torture, etc.) but also kinda fed into the "aren't pirates cool?" notion at the same time. Hard to explain why.
Jul. 20th, 2008 02:19 pm (UTC)
Hope you got a good night's sleep and your feet are feeling better. Sounds like a wonderful weekend to me (except for the hot/humid part and the too much walking part, of course). I really, really, REALLY want to go to New York. I've never been. My husband really, really, REALLY does not. Can you believe it? Someday, somehow, I'll get there. And see a show!!!
Jul. 20th, 2008 03:51 pm (UTC)
There are some folks who just don't love big cities. Although there are all kinds of appealing things to do in and around NYC, even if you aren't a true city person. Central Park, the cloisters up along the river, sports (sports sports), etc. I hope you get there someday. If only the midyear SCBWI conference were half as great as LA, I'd suggest coming for that!

Edited at 2008-07-20 03:51 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 21st, 2008 01:35 am (UTC)
Which one is it?
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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