Since last week was Spring Break for the kiddos, my family embarked on a six-day trip to Boston and New York. The plan was for my daughter (a junior in high school) to tour six colleges (three in Boston, three in NYC) and for us to visit with relatives and fit in a few tourist activities.
The college visits were interesting, although we began to notice certain things emphasized on the tours, like the campus blue lights (and the response time for the local police!), the number of clubs offered, and eating options/meal plans (always important!). As someone who went to college in the 1980s, I was amazed at all the opportunities for internships and junior year abroad programs. A few times on the tours I felt a little jealous, because my college years are way behind me.
However, as appealing as the colleges were, the admissions process was intimidating. The process of writing an application essay reminded me of the process involved for querying a manuscript. It isn’t something you dash off quickly if you have an hour to kill. Writing an essay (or a query) takes a lot of thought and can require numerous revisions. And sometimes it’s a matter of being the right person at the right time. At Barnard College, the admissions officer told us that they reject applicants with perfect test scores and 4.0 GPAs, simply because they believe these students aren’t a good fit for the school. The same principle applies when querying. You could be doing everything right, but you might still get rejected, because your manuscript might not be a good fit for a particular agent or publishing house.
In addition to visiting colleges, we took the subway all over Manhattan – we went to the 9/11 Memorial, the Bronx (Fordham College), the Upper East Side (to visit my aunt), the Upper West Side (Columbia) and mid-town. Since I recently signed with Erin Niumata of Folio Literary Agency, my family wanted to know where “my” agency is located in New York. We tracked down the address for Folio and my husband took a picture of us outside the building. (I didn’t try to go inside, because I didn’t want to appear stalker-ish!).
As I’ve mentioned before, my daughter and I love musicals, so we had to fit in a Broadway show. If it were up to me, I would have picked a known commodity, like Newsies or Pippin. But thanks to my daughter’s suggestion, as well as the current offerings at TKTS booth, we went to see Heathers, an off-Broadway show at the New World Stages. It was a fantastic musical, full of energy, great songs, and a full component of teen angst. Plus, it had a totally 80’s vibe, which I loved. Definitely recommended for fans of the original movie!
On our last day, I took my thirteen-year-old son to the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria. Truly an awesome museum, with old movie cameras, hands-on exhibits, costumes from movies like Chicago, set designs from The Silence of the Lambs and The Wiz, free screenings (we got to see The Lego Movie) and a whole row of old-school videogames, like Space Invaders, Super Breakout and Ms. Pac-Man (my personal favorite!).
Now that we’re back home, and the kids are back at school, it’s time to return to my regular writing routine. But I always love a chance to take a break, step outside my comfort zone, and explore places with my family.