Monday, February 25, 2008

On the Lighter Side: The Directionally Challenged Should Not Wear New Shoes to NYC

For once I thought I had the direction thing in the bag. This was the City. It's basically a grid with kind, proper street numbers that proceed chronologically. And yet. And yet, I still managed to spend 45 minutes last night clicking my way towards several blisters as I tried to find Ed2010's "How to Pitch" workshop.

The good news is that my sorry lack of confidence was finally working for me. I'd decided not to trust my NY navigational abilities and had arrived in Manhattan over an hour earlier than I needed to. Sooo when I finally pushed through the workshop building's glass doors, I was still 10 minutes early. (Note to the directionally challenged: east 43rd street does not end at Grand Central; it picks up on the other side.)

Now I love Manhattan in general, and this is going to sound odd, but one thing I especially relish is signing in at the front security desks. I remember walking around the city when I was younger, looking through the glass doors at those front desks, and wondering what famous writers or actors or Important People got to walk past them. Getting to push through the doors and sign in just makes me feel so, oh I don't know. New York.

It wasn't until I'd gotten up to the workshop room that I realized: Oh, yes. My earlier fears were justified.

About 20 bright, young 21-year old faces stared back at me. Now I'd prepared for this uncomfortable possibly by taking the time to apply some makeup and carefully plucking a few unruly grays from my hair earlier that day, but still - I couldn't help but remember that last week at the package store - for the first time ever, I wasn't carded. And I couldn't help but wonder if those girls all thought I was too old to be there. Was I too old to try to break into these markets? I know the answer is no, but I couldn't help the thoughts. Everyone looked so young and un-fine-lined.

With my daily outings running me into either 70-somethings or 20-somethings, I can't help but wonder where all of the writers my age are. Are they all working and already in the midst of achieving their career goals?

As the workshop continued, I listened to the girls' questions and heard how uncertain they were about so many things that I've already read or learned in one class or another. Compared to these girls, I've got confidence enough to pitch to every editor out there. And maybe even make a few cold calls. Maybe that's worth the price of a few gray hairs (and the few more I'll get while making the calls). I'd like to think so.

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