Posted by: alegra22 | June 27, 2008

Mr.Toad’s Wild Ride

Dan and I, despite our initial caution, fell in love with New York. There is something intoxicating about the trees sprouting up through squares in the endless stretching of concrete and concrete rising up into old brick buildings, brick giving way to gargoyles, domes, structures that have absorbed the rising and falling away of so many thoughts, walls that have held in sweat, breath, words, song, dinosaur bones, art…it goes on and on.

I have memories of New York from living in Ithaca as a child and coming into the city occasionally, but my visits mostly involved visiting my abuelita in Brooklyn, so this trip was a fresh experience with that haunting familiarity lingering on the edges. What struck me as an adult was the way the city felt like a series of contained spaces humming with human momentum, nature was a secondary thing reaching up through the cracks – a chorus to the main song. The height of the buildings seemed to hold the heavens at a distance, filtering it down into the commerce, the comings and goings, the mini-dramas folding and unfolding on the streets. On our last night in New York, we stood on the steps of Madison Square Garden, our bodies still vibrating from taking in an R.E.M performance, I grabbed Dan’s hand and said, “We will miss you New York, thank you for being so kind to us.”

It is a place I can imagine loving in short bursts, the type of friend who keeps me up for nights on end but would exhaust me in the long term.

Dan turned my last blog and its generalizations on its head, taking to New York like a natural. He was navigating the streets with the same sort of skill he shows on the rugby field, taking everything in, moving with the flow, thrilled by the non-stop action.

We are now adjusting back to life in New Zealand, the non-stop traffic of our two children – we missed them in that visceral sort of way particular between parents and their offspring. Earlier, as I rested on the couch, I could feel the impact of their presence as they chased one another through the house, the sound echoed making our small home sound as though it had been built with hollow bones and I thought, “The wild ride has only just begun.”

After 30 hours of travel to get to NYC and then 30 hours back, after the agent meetings, the last year of preparation, the rush and thrill of it all…the general ‘Mr.Toad’s Wild Ride’ momentum of things…still, nothing is quite as grand in its risk and passion as being a parent to my children.

Toot Toot.

Onwards we go!

Here is a link to the blog I wrote for Maria Schneider’s blog. I will be updating every few months on the development of the novel, and will be writing here more regularly. Later, when I have recharged a little more I will post a more in-depth travel blog here, but for now, here is the Writers Digest link:,guid,de27ad99-7ace-45a7-89fc-8be535ef6025.aspx

Blessings and other good stuff…




  1. I lived in NYS, too, from age 4 to 17. Looked at Ithaca College but then my dad got transferred from the Schenectady area to Erie, PA where I ended up going to undergrad college. I love NYS and happy to be heading back that way in a week or so. Love your blog.

  2. Thank you!
    I already miss aspects of New York, especially Ithaca. I have some of my fondest childhood memories from that area.
    Have a wonderful trip.

  3. short bursts. Yeah, I get that.

    60 hours round trip… thats a little heavy. I’m glad everything went so well. more importantly, I’m glad you had time to rock out

  4. 🙂

  5. Hello Nuke!
    Yes, it was three plane trips on the way with a 7 hour layover in Chicago which actually turned into a great opportunity to spend time with friends and the way home was 4 plane trips, all of them delayed with a domino effect so that we nearly missed the final flight home. In the end, the flights were relaxing simply becuase it was only Dan and me – no kids, but the jetlag has its toll.

  6. Ok, this kinda has nothing to do with the blog. . .Let me start by saying that I feel like a really bad friend!! As I was reading this I realised I’d never gotten around to reading Salamander Prayer!! (Shocking I know, like I said, I feel terrible) so I started searching on the net for it. . .Thankfully I found it and. . .my life feels richer for having read it. It’s absolutely beautiful and so. . .you. Almost like a piece of your soul written down and available for everyone to read (which must be so scary for you) I truly wish I had your courage and talent. . .
    Big Loves and Hugs to all of you!!

  7. You are both so lucky to have each other. It’s like the movie “flight of the navigator” I can’t remember the name of the ship but that would be Dan and your the little kid, can’t remember his name either! Good childhood movie though if you haven’t seen it before.

    Switching back from “travel mode” to “parent” mode can be a hard one too. When I was with the mother of my children we had always promised that we would never travel without our kids. In hindsight that is near impossible, especially for those with a limited budget. It’s just another challenge that you have meet and met it well! These are all challenges that have helped shape you and your life you have now.

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