The New York City skyline was overtaking the sun as I made my way across the Manhattan Bridge to Nancy’s place in Clinton Hill for dinner last night.
Full of wine and stories, the evening was wonderful. At one point after the polenta had been been consumed and we were digging into the wrapped chocolates Electra had placed in the center of the table, Nancy seemed to remember that she’d once made a living illustrating children’s books.
“Just to pay the rent,” she told us.
I asked to see some of her work and, ever the gracious hostess, she obliged.
We paged through the pictures she’d drawn fifty-something years ago as she explained what inspired some of her sketches and admitted to us how she hadn’t liked some of the books very much and how poorly the “gigs” all paid anyway. Her drawings were brilliant, of course, because she’s brilliant, an artist who’s dedicated a life to creating things that stir people up inside.
On our way back to the hotel I looked up one of her books—Did You Carry The Flag Today, Charley?—and bought it so I could tear out and frame a picture I’d seen earlier, because it reminds me of myself on a lot of days.
Early yesterday evening I was acting not terrified on the 72nd floor roof deck of a colleague's apartment building in Singapore watching the summer sun dip down below the horizon line while my dad, who had joined me via FaceTime, watched it rise from his living room in Michigan.