posted by Leann Sweeney
That's where I am as I write this blog. New York. I came to here to see my daughter perform off Broadway in a tiny little theater at the Here Arts Center. She is a "performance artist" now, not just a dancer. What I saw was amazing. She combined origami, monologue, dialogue and dance. Don't ask me how, but it worked. At least for me. I am the mom, though. Moms opinions are not what performers are looking for. Just like writers should never rely on beloved friends or relatives for anything but a pat on the back and a prouncement that your timeless prose is indeed an inch away from genius.
My son-in-law is also a performer--part time of course. The rent does have to be paid. He is with the NY Neo-Futurists, also performance artists of a very different kind. Think Saturday Night Live on speed--30 plays in 60minutes. I did laugh--a lot. But it's my daughter's work that resonates--like a really good short story that you have to read several times so you can fully "get it." She is having her post-production meltdown today. Been there. Truly, there is no off switch on that crying machine when you realize you have created and have now let go. I hope I helped her by being here with her, by helping her understand that it will always be an emotional process, this sending your literary babies out into the world. You want people to tell you how beautiful they are. But sometimes you get nothing back. And sometimes a person might even stick their tongue out your baby when she/he thinks you aren't looking.
I met with my editor, whom I love, and we had a wonderful lunch in one of those great little NY restaurants with five or six tables. We talked business for part of the time but mostly we just gabbed. Then I also met my agent--face-to-face for the first time. We've only talked on the phone and through e-mail before this week. She is so different than I imagined. She is soooooo busy, which surprised me because when I talk with her on the phone she always sounds so calm. But her office is rocking! Her assistant, Will, is also not as I envisioned. He has a very young voice, so I thought he was in his twenties, but I'd say he's more like thirty-five. He got me my audio book deal and low and behold they had just received their copies, so he gave me two to take home. Far as I know, mine haven't arrived back in Texas yet. If you enjoy audio, the first two titles are available at the Recorded Books website--www.recordedbooks.com. Put my name in the search feature because I'm a midlister and that means no homepage splash for me. But I'm there and that's good.
I saw Grey Gardens on Broadway and have eaten some fantastic meals, but as a mystery writer, I enjoyed something special this morning. We awoke to the sound of major honking car horns. Since that kind of honking is now punishable by a $350 fine in NYC, I knew something was up. I looked out the window and a car was on fire right below our apartment building. And I mean REALLY on fire: black smoke pouring into the sky, flames shooting out the windows and little explosions happening every few seconds. This was all coming from inside the car--not from the engine or from anywhere under the front hood. I wanted Dennis Leary and the Rescue Me cast to show up, but the real NYFD came. They got things under control quickly but from thier body language, I could tell this fire was a little puzzling to them, too. Like someone had spilled their yummy glass of gasoline and a spark from their cigarette just happened to ignite the entire interior. As a writer, I'm thinking body in the trunk, I'm thinking insurance fraud. But it was probably something far less interesting. I will never know. That's good, though. I now have a very accurate picture of a car engulfed in flames, of firemen and police responding and of the lady who went to a bakery and came back to offer donuts to all the guys and girls working that scene. Now that gave me a detail about human behavior that I plan to use, so thank you New York.