Four photos (behind the cut) from NYC, a trip me and Poppy (docbrite) took together, July 14-17, 1997. She writes about that week in one of the Guilty But Insane essays, "New York Diary," where I appear simply as "Hello Kitty." I was still living in Athens, just barely. This was the month before I moved back to Birmingham. Silk had sold to Penguin, I was writing The Dreaming full time. I was 33 years old. I remember sitting in the bathtub, on the phone with Poppy, and she asked if I wanted to spend a few days at the Algonquin, chasing the ghosts of Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley. I said sure, why the hell not. This was right before the 1998 renovation and writers could still afford to stay at the Algonquin. And I was entirely fed up with Athens and all it had come to signify (a messy, disintegrating relationship; post-DLS band drama; etc.) and welcomed the escape. So, there you go. I museumed (now a verb), had dinner with Peter Straub, got drunk, spent far too much money at Maxilla & Mandible, stalked Central Park, went to the American Museum of Natural History twice, and did my best not to think about Athens.
In the bar, waiting on another sidecar. One cannot stalk the ghost of Dorothy Parker without booze. That was my favorite purse back then, something I'd found in a thrift store. I have no idea what ever became of it.
Here I'm having an Aslan moment outside the New York Public Library. I'm still kind of amazed I didn't get yelled at by the cops for climbing up there.
The staircase outside our hotel room. Back then, I had a default expression for most photos. This quickly becomes apparent to anyone comparing photos of me from 1994-2001. There's that purse again.
Me and Raphus cucullatus — the dodo, "Didus ineptus" to Linnaeus, late of the island of Mauritius, removed to the American Museum of Natural History. I never make a trip to NYC but that I spend at least one day at the AMNH. It's the closest thing I have to a Notre Dame de Paris or Cappella Sistina. These dodo and me, it was love at first sight. Note the purse.