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My friend Ant had to work, so I ate Empire Cake treats (chocolate chip cookies and mini red velvet cupcake) at his apartment and watched Wizards of Waverly Place. This is how I pre-game for a TS Concert.
We Path-trained it over to Newark and got to the Prudential Center at 6:53.
I have to apologize for the photo quality.
We had awesome seats, but the super bright lights made everyone on stage ghostly white.
The Florida Georgia Line were the first opening act. They were great. I wasn’t super familiar with their music but it was infectiously fun.
Ed Sheeran was next. I enjoy his music but he tended to extend every song by double its original play time.
And he had the audience so confused telling one section to sing the high melody and the other the low melody. They still loved him though.
My favorite part was when the mom of a a couple tweens started doing tai chi moves to his song. The kids kept grabbing her and trying to get her to sit down.
She refused to stop until his set ended.
But Taylor. OMG she was amazing. Ant turned to me and said, “She’s one of the few artists who’s actually better in person.”
Her show was an extravaganza!
She even brought Ed Sheeran back out for a duet at the back of the concert venue.
She makes sure everyone has a good seat regardless of where they sit.
She closed with a bang. Lots of fireworks and confetti. No encores so we wrapped up at 10:30.
The show was pretty on time. Ofc taking the Path at night meant we got back to Chelsea around 12 am.
Just in time for dinner at a diner.
The next AM, I broke up a catfight.
And headed back to CT.
It sorta started last Wednesday night. I took the train into NY. Arrived at Grand Central and cabbed it over to my friend’s Chelsea digs. I was cat sitting for a couple days before I flew to LA. Well, to be honest his cat is a cat with a dog’s soul (greets you at the door, cuddles in bed with you). So I did some shopping and caught up with a friend who happened to be in the city at the same time.
Then I got up horribly early Saturday AM and went to JFK for a flight to LA. Saturday I hung out with my dear friend J who I’ve known 12 years now. Sunday, we drove up to Napa. And today we are wine touring and tasting in Napa.
We’ll spend the next 2 days driving back down the coast to LA. Thursday, I meet the awesome August McLaughlin whose been a blog buddy for months. We’re going for lunch!
Ill explore my hotel for the SCBWI LA Conference. Then my terrific writing buddy and dear friend, Kat Bender arrives.
And we conference for 4 days. Then I fly back to NY next Tuesday and train back to CT Wednesday August 8th.
During this time, I probably won’t be commenting much on people’s blogs. Please forgive my absence. It’s my only official vacation this year. And I’m conferencing for 1/3 of it!
I came in Monday night for MWA’s Edgars Week. Crashed with Cousin G and E. Had a wonderful time with them!
Today, I’m moving to Ant’s for two nights. This afternoon I’m running some errands in the city. This evening, I’ll be at the Launch Party for the latest MWA anthology, Vengeance, edited by Lee Child. The party will be at the Mysterious Book Store in Tribeca. Then I’ll be grabbing dinner at my fav Chinese restaurant with Ant. Good times.
Wednesday, I’ll be at the Edgars Symposium and the MWA Agent Cocktail Party. I’ll blog about it soon!
Thursday, I might hit a museum and then head back to CT on the train.
Today I’m attending the writer’s roundtable intensive all day workshop at the kickoff of the International SCBWI Winter Conference in New York. This is my first SCBWI conference so I’m excited to see how it rolls out.
My all day workshop has 8-9 writers sitting at a table with an agent or editor. Our first 500 words will be critiqued. I’m looking forward to the feedback and the opportunity to get my revised work in front of an agent or editor.
At a minimum, I’ll come away with useful feedback. And if I dream big, an editor or agent will like it enough to request pages.
The conference has some amazing panels in its schedule. When I signed up for the conference, the registration included language about not blogging about copyrighted material presented in the workshops and about not transmitting any part of the conference.
This means next week’s conference blogs will be less detailed than my usual ones. I’ll try to include useful tidbits and insights while respecting and adhering to SCBWI’s rules.
If you have any questions about the SCBWI Winter Conference, please fire away. I’ll answer them below or if they require a longer response, I’ll incorporate them into next week’s blog posts.
I went into the city last Monday night to make sure I didn’t miss a second of the final Speak Now 2011 Taylor Swift Concert on Tuesday night in Madison Square Garden (MSG).
Linds was gracious enough to drop me at the train station after we saw Breaking Dawn, which may be the best of the Twilight installment.
The next train departing in 5 minutes. A New York walk to the last train platform and I was on my way.
I listened to Taylor Swift the entire train ride and the entire walk to my cousin’s apartment. Ingrained Speak Now in my brain again.
I’d listened to the CD 55 times while revising my YA manuscript. Taylor just speaks to my story and puts me into my characters again.
Cousin AJ and I had a lovely dinner at Blue Bell Cafe, which is my fav place in her area. She graciously put me up for the night in her stylish yet comfy abode. Many thanks!
We hung out, watched tv, unpacked a gorgeous bunny chandelier, and finally went to bed.
The next AM was TAYLOR SWIFT DAY. I slept in, showered, watched tv, and got ready to meet my dad and Ant.
Dad got into the city at 5. It took 20 minutes to drive 9 blocks from my cousin’s apartment toward MSG. We parked 6 blocks from Madison Square Garden in a gusty rainstorm. Dad didn’t have an umbrella.
We made it to Nick and Stef’s Steakhouse by 5:30. Got our table and gobbled down fried calamari, filet mignon and mashed potatoes. The filet delish. The potatoes smooth but tasteless, requiring salt and my steak sauce. The Calamari good but a tad chewy. Liked the marinara sauce.
Ant joined us at 6:15–very prompt. We wrapped up dinner at 6:30.
Then we walked over to MSG with Ant leading us through Penn Station to avoid the rain.
We got to the steps to MSG and saw t-shirts for sale. All t-shirts were $25. I already love her music but I now appreciate her conscientious pricing. Madonna’s concert charged upwards of 40-50$ for a t-shirt.
Big lines, few salespeople. I corralled Ant into t-shirt mode. You watch every purchase and the second they start to shift to come back through the line you surge forward to fill in the space. Otherwise, everyone else cuts you and you never get your t-shirt. At one point, I executed a gorgeous 360 that landed me two rows closer to the t-shirts.
I knew what I wanted. One for Linds. One for me and Ant had his picked out. I got up front and the sellers were yelling who knows what they want? I said me and screamed out the letter and size for each t-shirt. Intense.
Meanwhile Dad is securing the Taylor Swift concert book for me. As we head inside the venue, girls go by us in hand-made Taylor Swift t-shirts. With lights strung around their signs and their bodies. These are serious concert goers.
We get inside and I receive a free Cover Girl lip stick. Dad requests one for Mom. I go to the lady’s room and change into my Taylor T-shirt.
Then we (Ant and Me) take pics with the Taylor poster.
We see the little girls at the Cover Girl makeup stations getting made up. It looks pretty fun. If I was 12 I’d love it.
At this point, Dad has to go to his section 105 and Ant and I head to ours 106. Ant asks the lady and her daughter who are between us to move down so we can sit together. Sweet.
Ant puts on his Taylor t-shirt too. We look at the sea of teens and tweens. We are bringing the average age up 25 years easily. Dad must feel ancient.
The opening act starts up. Adam Brand. Songs were countryish and easy to listen to.
There was a short break and NeedToBreathe came on. They reminded me of Kings of Leon. Also pretty country but more of a rock sound.
The amazing thing was the concertgoers. They were decked out. Glowsticks, Christmas lights, posters that lit up. Hardcore Taylor fans.
Reminded me of a PG rave.
Taylor came on about 8:20. She sang most of the songs from Speak Now.
The absolute excitement and energy of the crowd infected us.
Ant sang along to the songs, but I belted them out and danced around nearly knocking over the 7 year old beside me.
Taylor’s set list was:
The Story of Us
Back to December
Better Than Revenge
You Belong With Me
She was breath-stealing, soul-expanding, ear-hugging amazing. Everyone in the audience sang the songs along with her.
She paused a few times and gave the audience looks of utter amazement and appreciation. Whether planned or spontaneous, it was lovely to see a performer showing appreciation for her audience.
She made MSG feel like an intimate little venue. There was an absolute magic to the night that enchanted everyone.
I gotta say, I felt l9 again. Full of hope and potential. Like I could take on the world and win.
I really enjoyed her singing, playing (of guitar, banjo, and piano), and dancing. She had flawless and fantastically fast costume changes. She put on the performance of a lifetime and eclipsed every concert I’d ever seen. Including Madonna.
I think part of the reason fans adore her so very much is because she exudes a genuineness and a warmth.
She gives back to the audience. Not only did she put on a killer performance, but she also brought out guests.
She and Selena Gomez performed “Who Says?”
Later Taylor recounted how she was named for James Taylor and he came out to duet on “Fire and Rain.”
When she closed with Love Story, I felt like Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. I didn’t want to wake from this dream nor did I want this night to end.
A thousand thanks to Ms. Swift for putting on an extravaganza that is far beyond what we call a concert.
A hundred thanks to Dad for driving down on a work night and driving back home in torrential rain at 12 am.
My last day in NYC, I started to feel tired. So I went to my doctor appointment, did a little window shopping, and ended up on my friend’s bed with his cat, watching Disney.
My friend, Ant, and I grabbed lunch at a nearby diner, Vinyl, on 8th Avenue. It was cool. I loved the mosaic tabletops.
We started by splitting the hummus appetizer.
The food was yummie there. I has the skirt steak with flavorful mashed potatoes and he had a turkey burger and fries.
Then I headed over to Grand Central for the Metro North commute home. Caught the 4:07 train which was standing room only. Ended up sitting in a 5 seater with 4 people. Brushing knees. Read and edited the entire way.
In the summer, if you are leaving NYC on a Friday, always aim for a 3/3:30 train. The 4 p.m. and later are insanely crowded.
I ended up chatting with one of my seatmates and he heard me coughing and advise apple cider vinegar to help my throat. Good thing too. Because my sore throat turned into a nasty wet cough.
I’ve been downing apple cider vinegar every day and it definitely helped the sore throat. I think it made the cough way more productive too.
And ofc, I got a fever this weekend from the vaccinations. I always get a tad sick from vaccines. So fever, tired, achy, flu-ey feeling Saturday and Sunday.
Monday I was a tad better and showered. Though still sweaty and my head wasn’t not quite clear thinking.
Editing wise, I’m on ch. 28 of 35! About 77% done (based on a word count calculation).
Thursday night, I left Magnet at Ant’s apartment and headed up to Hell’s Kitchen to meet Brett.
After a quick drink of water and 15 minutes of chat, we headed to Chinatown for dinner at our fav place New Green Bo.
One the subway, we’re about to get out at Canal St. when this girl asks me, “Can I ask you a question?”
My response: Sure.
The doors open and she says, “My friend makes wire wrap necklaces like yours.”
Okay that’s a statement. We’re under a time constraint cause this is our stop. She stumbles over her words and finally I figure out she is trying to ask my if her friend made my necklace. So I tell her it’s from Salem and leap out the doors.
At Green Bo, we have our fav dishes the xiao long tang bao, the white fish with dried seaweed, the scallop with pea tips. But this time, I spy something that looks like sautéed eggplant on a nearby table. Brett asks the waiter and it turns out I was right. I order it and devour the entire dish! As good as what I had in Pisa.
After dinner, the air is crisp and the evening begs for a walk. So we meander up through soho, noho, and end up in the village.
We planned to have a drink, but Brett and my plans never work out. Instead, we get caught up taking pictures…
In the village, we stumble across a place with $3 beers and $5 cocktails. We find a spot to sit. Brett sips a black russian and I have a white russian.
The night gets breezier and we hop on the subway to our respective stops. I get back to Ant’s apartment and Magnet is a Chatty Cathy, tricking me into giving him more food. BTW, he greets me at the door and I can hear him meowing the second I slide the key in. Ant swears he’s more dog than cat.
Watched some Disney and fell asleep.