On making a pilgrimage

I’m still in NYC for one final night. Today’s non-celebrity sightings were few:

  • A junior Joe Montaigne lookalike. Putting cream and sugar in his coffee, telling me how he needs to get a new laptop, I should see the dinosaur he used to carry around when he used to travel back and forth to Florida. Walked off while I was mid-reply.
  • A musician-looking person, very jittery, who sat with a friend and talked about how his band would soon be playing in Amsterdam (or somewhere in Europe), and Al Cooper was going to sit in. Alanis Morrisette’s name came up — possibly he was in her band? Talked about his daughter trick-or-treating the night before and being given candy by some celebrities (Carly Simon I think, etc).

Tonight my friend and I saw OK Go and Rufus Wainwright in concert at the Beacon. The sound was completely for crap, but OK Go rocked as hard as their opening band hearts would allow. I would enjoy them more in a smaller venue — if only they would come to pittsburgh. Rufus W. was very into his stuff and took most of the crowd with him. Nancy and I unfortunately had not consumed his particular flavor of Kool-Aid, so we departed early (getting out before the traffic, in true Pittsburgher fashion).

Earlier today, as this was my final afternoon here, I made a pilgrimage to the Algonquin Hotel. If you choose to go, please consider these suggestions:

  • Arrive before 4pm. A great swell of tourists arrives at 4 — perhaps they fear there’s some kind of problem with drinking alcohol during daylight hours. Don’t fall into their trap. Get to the hotel around 3:50, march into the lobby dseating area and station yourself on a nice leather settee, order your drink, and watch the people come in looking uncomfortable and touristy.
  • If you like your martinis without vermouth, be clear about this. But if you forget, be relieved to discover that the house vermouth is not so very awful.
  • Be aware that there will be other literary/writing pilgrims like yourself. The most disconcerting part of this is seeing someone who seems to be a potential future you, whom you might become in 10 or 20 years. Do not be frightened by these individuals. Like the people displayed by the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, they are only shades of things that might be. You still have time to give up drinking, start exercising, and generally get yourself together.

For NaNoWriMo today, I wrote 1,697 words — slightly over my quota for the day. I started off in a steady but unspectacular manner, then faltered at about word 875 when I realized my lead character/narrator was exhibiting no discernible personality. So I fell back on my planned crutch: stealing a voice from someone else> In this case I chose Raymond Chandler. The result reads nothing like Chandler, but in the course of trying to achieve that sound I bullied through and came up with a mildly amusing start to my book. I’ll abandon these first few pages later anyway; for now I’m glad simply to have begun.