Monday, June 8, 2009


I am at the stage now where my novel is not listening to me.  It has a mind of its own.  It veers and turns and twists.  It avoids looking me in the eye. A character I meant to stay a kid is suddenly 19 and working as a fry cook. A man I meant to be a peripheral character is stunned to discover his part in a terrible crime many years ago. I know this stage is the big mess stage, and it's fine. I am not one of those writers who can either "follow my pen" or adhere to an outline.  It all breathes, in and out.

In the meantime, we visited Williamsburg, Brooklyn for the first time.  It used to be full of all Orthodox Jewish people, but now it is all young hipsters. It was sort of jarring because it reminded me both of Harvard Square and parts of the old East Village, except, except..everyone was in their twenties.  Their young twenties.  I felt too old to be there!  There  were people selling their used clothes on every corner, kids bopping on the street or spilling out of apartments.  Great shops, restaurants, bookstores, but the vibe was decidedly college.  It was the first time I had ever visited a part of NYC where I felt, nice place to visit but I could not live here. I'm too old!  Interestingly enough, the NY Times had a piece about Williamsburg, how it is considered terrible among the culture there to have to take money from your parents to afford the high rents there, but how else can starving artists pay $1500 to $3000 a month?

Of course vibes change.  My beloved Soho is now bankers and models.  Hoboken when we moved here was filled with artists and writers and we were all pioneers in a gritty city, but now it is gentrified. I love the restaurants and shops and cultural activities.  I love the city buzz.  What I don't love are the bankers and beefy jocks who like to drink too much on the weekend. I'm not fond of the too many posturing kids who are too timid to get thee to Manhattan but still want to hang out somewhere urban. 

But that vibe, too, will pass.


Clea Simon said...

I read the Times piece on "trustafarians," too. Cracked me up - hey, so much of my youth (yours too, I bet) was that we were making it on our own! Yes, we bought day-old bread (well, I did) and shared our apartments with one too many roommates. But we were making it on our own! Maybe you're not too old for W'msburg, just too self sufficient.

Glad you had a fun outing, though.

Katharine Weber said...

My father was born in the back of his parents' tiny mom and pop grocery store in Williamsburg, on Stagg Street, in 1910. I imagine he would be utterly amazed, as would his parents, to see it now.

Gina Sorell said...

When my cousin lived in Williamsburg we went to visit her, and had a great dinner at this place called The Oznot. But I also felt too old! It was really cool and super hip and I felt a bit square...or rather as Clea puts it...self sufficient :)

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