Monday, March 31, 2014

Holy Cheese Whiz, It's Been Awhile: Travels

So I'm talking to my best guy friend the other day and he mentions that I haven't written on my blog in some time. And now looking at my five-and-a-half-minute hallway, he's absolutely correct. In order to not make everyone (and by everyone, I mean all three of you who actually read this)'s eyes bleed, I'll chop up what I've been doing for the past four months into two posts: travel and other things I've been up to.

Off we go then!

The last time I left you, I was about to travel to Berlin. Which I did, with my auntie and two friends. I saw the following:

The Berlin Zoo

The Tiergarten, Berlin's answer to Central Park 

The Victory Column. And no, I wasn't looking up her skirt. 

The Brandenburg Gate

Me in front of the Brandenburg Gate, in case you were wondering if I had just stolen these images off the Internet and claimed that I had gone to Berlin, and really hadn't.

Berlin wasn't terribly different from Rome, which I visited last year. I know about two words of German, but I tried real hard to figure things out. Apparently 70% of Berlin was bombed out during World War II (which I was not aware of before traveling there) so unfortunately, there's not a lot of historical sites left. 

I mean, there's a few historical sites left.

The most handsome historical reenactment ever.
Oh, and there's still places like this.  The Charlotteburg Palace. 

 There were a few Christmas markets still up, with fun things like marzipan potatoes.

One of our cab drivers asked us how long we were staying in the city, and when we told him, he said, "Bah, you only need two to three days to see everything." We were there for six days, and I don't think we covered everything, even though we did see quite a bit of the city. 

And this is my boyfriend, Igel. He's a Berliner, and only speaks German. 

I was also fortunate to visit New York recently. I stayed at a super mod-60s-esque hotel that made me feel like I wasn't quite cool enough to stay there, but I think I might have been able to pull it off once the weekend was over. 

See? Here's proof. Sort of. 

I planned my trip around a project I've done for my publishing class this term on Harriet the Spy. Louise Fitzhugh's classic is celebrating its 50th year of publication, and there have been quite a few events to celebrate all things Harriet. 

Harriet swag, say whaaaaat?

I was fortunate enough to see Louise's original illustrations and the synopsis of Harriet through the kindness of the people at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst about a month prior to go to New York. (If you're interested, these illustrations, plus the illustrations from the sequel, The Long Secret, will be on display soon; check them out!)

But I based my trip to see two fantastic authors, Rebecca Stead and Gregory Maguire, along with children's literature critic and historian, Leonard Marcus, give a talk on Harriet and their experiences with the book. All three of them, in fact, have essays in the Random House 50th anniversary edition of the book, as seen above. 

Okay, it's a little fuzzy, but it's them, I swear.

All three had very unique experiences with the book (Gregory even brought in one of his old spy journals, much like Harriet's) and the crowd was attentive and I had a great time. Afterward, I was able to talk with all three (and get them to sign my copy of Harriet, yeah!) and it was interesting to speak with each of them individually. I think I scared Leonard, but I was sort of gushing about having read his book for my publishing class and how I was doing my project around Harriet, and maybe I came on a little too strong.

Rebecca was incredibly nice and when I told her I was a MFA student at Simmons, she was so supportive and listened to everything I had to say. I've sort of been in a funk with my writing lately, and since I'm trying to prep it to send out for agent representation, I'm in a weird mood about it and trying to work with what I've got. But Rebecca told me (and signed my book with the same words), "Keep writing!" And it was so simple and perfect at the same time. The way she said it and the way she didn't make me feel a fool with the major fangirling that I was doing, it made me feel a lot better about my writing.

Gregory was really funny and told me that he appreciated a Simmons student coming to the panel. I almost passed out (similar to when I met MT Anderson and Don Rosa in the past) when Gregory told me to tell my professor hello. Part of my mind was screaming at me, "WHAT IS HAPPENING? THIS IS NOT REAL LIFE! WHO ARE YOU THAT GREGORY MAGUIRE CASUALLY TELLS YOU TO TELL YOUR PROFESSOR 'HELLO'?" Thankfully I did not pass out and was able to graciously tell him that I would certainly pass along such an important message.

After grabbing a New York slice (well, duh, what else was I going to eat?) and deciding to visit the New York Public Library, where Leonard had curated an exhibit on children's books, The ABC of It: Why Children's Books Matter, I hailed a cab and headed to the library. 
A first edition of Harriet

An illustration from the Wizard of Oz.
Alice, whose neck seems to be growing…

When there is a reproduction of the car from The Phantom Tollbooth, you sure as hell get into it, no matter how goofy you look.

After I left the library, I had some time to kill before I had to dash off to catch the evening performance of Newsies (and you all know my love for Newsies) so I headed back to my hotel. I got a bite to eat at a diner around the corner from my hotel, then went and got ready for the show.

I had a pretty good seat, because I'm an adult…and the King of New York. 

The show was amazing and I had a fantastic time. The dancing was spectacular and the songs that they added in that weren't in the original movie were fun. After the show, I bummed around Times Square for a bit, then went back to the hotel for the night. 

The next day, I didn't have anything planned before I had to go back to the bus station, so I decided to visit my woolly mammoth skeleton pal at the American Museum of Natural History, because why not? I had thought about this a few times over the course of the weekend, but I wasn't on anyone's schedule, and it was a good feeling. I could literally do whatever I wanted, and I wanted to see the woolly mammoth skeleton. 

So I did.

There were quite a bit of children at the AMNH (YOUTHS!) so I hung out there for a bit, then went to the Port Authority and headed back to Boston. All in all, a wonderful, wonderful weekend. 

And so ends my tale about my travels. More to come with what else I've been up to lately. 

No comments:

Post a Comment