“I’d hate to drive a cab here in Boston.”

“Can you imagine driving a tractor trailer here?”6373994469

“Those bikes can be deadly – you can’t hear them coming.”

I reply, “I think we can safely say that you’d rather not drive anything at all in the city, right?”

P starts to laugh.

This is his first trip to a big city, and for a guy who would rather drive the back roads to avoid our little four-lane highway back in Virginia, Boston is huge and busy.

“I’m trying to take it all in, but I can’t,” he says as we leave Boston Common.

Yet, without hesitation, he agreed to join me in a huge city with 12,000 other writers.


I’ve known cities for so long – lived in Cleveland, San Francisco, and Baltimore and visited New York and Los Angeles and Austin and London and . . . that I have forgotten the way the city grabs you up and tosses you around with it’s sounds and sights. I’ve forgotten that not everyone knows the “walk fast and avoid eye contact” standard of most city sidewalks or that it’s quite reasonable to walk when everyone else walks, even if that little hand is red.

So to see P experience it all, to watch him watch the life here, is reviving, a reminder that not everything has been said or done, at least not for the eyes of everyone. A good reminder in the chaos of writing that is AWP.

I did, however, have to say that while the steam coming out of the grates was pretty it is usually best to avoid walking through it lest the smell over take us. . . some lessons are, indeed, better taught than learned first-hand.

What about you? What is your experience of the city?

AWP starts full-swing today.  I’ve got breakfast plans with a friend I met here last year and perhaps lunch with another.  We’re doing a little “tweet up” in the hotel bar tonight, and I have panels to attend and agents to meet.  I’m so excited, even about the snow that is dancing by outside.