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You Can Go Home Again

The most extraordinary thing happened to me today.

I returned to the apartment I lived in after college, the one that inspired my Riverside books, the one where I wrote Swordspoint and Thomas the Rhymer.

It happened because, about 3 years ago, I wrote this post about it.  Recently, the new owner found the post and wrote asking me if she was indeed living in my old apartment.

Reader . . . It was someone I knew.  --Or, at least, had known, in my previous lifetime in publishing.  She'd known my brother in college, and we'd had lunch a couple of times.  She worked at the Village Voice, then. (Now, she is a YA writer, and I will have to ask her permission before I go posting her address here....I'll call her "P--" for now.) We also figured out that she is the person responsible for my reading BAB: A SUB-DEB.  And she had a well-worn first edition of Swordspoint.

The odds are dazzling and enormous.

And here I confess that it's taken me about a year to take her up on her offer to come over and see the old place.  Even though, before I knew it was hers, I'd dreamed of slipping a note under the door saying, "Hi, I used to live here and would you mind terribly if I came in and looked around, sometime?"  It's different, when it's someone you know.

Fortunately, Terri had also lived in that apartment with me for awhile (along with a rotating cast of roommates) - she created Bordertown there, in fact! - and she wanted to see it, too.  So we went together.

And it was wonderful.  My body remembered the elevator, and the hallway; it all felt right and familiar, as if I'd never left.  The apartment's been fixed up - inlaid floors sanded & polished, kitchen re-done - but not unrecognizably. And it's all still there.  Terri & P-- went into the kitchen to make tea, and I confess I sat in the livingroom and cried, because there was the fireplace where Alec burned the book, and the wall Richard had practiced against.  And the window where I had my desk, looking out on the street, was glowing in the sunlight.

I joked with P-- that, since I am trying to write a novel about a girl who goes back to Riverside, she should let me come over and write there - and she claimed that if I promised to name an appealing character after her, she would consider it.

We'll see.

This is not quite the post I'd intended to write; either I'm too tired, or I don't actually want to talk about it all yet. I did take a lot of photos, and maybe I'll put them up, here or on FB. (I tweeted one, today - because it's easy from my iPhone.  I'm so Lo-Tech!) But since the day also included Delia leaving for ICFA, and my going later to a friend's talk at the Drama Bookshop . . . and getting and obsessing over audition clips for the TPOTS actors . . . Well, it's nice to be able to just sit here and think about it.

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Comments

( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
rikibeth
Mar. 23rd, 2012 06:06 am (UTC)
oh, my goodness.

Is it too much to ask for a photo of the fireplace where Alec burned the book? I have a picture in my head and I'm very curious if I got it close.
(Deleted comment)
mizkit
Mar. 23rd, 2012 06:54 am (UTC)
Gosh. I would have just said, "Okay!" if you'd said you should come back there to write. :) What an awesome story! <3
(Anonymous)
Mar. 23rd, 2012 08:27 am (UTC)
I often dream about the house I grew up in. I am kind of envious of this amazing trip back!
eegatland
Mar. 23rd, 2012 08:28 am (UTC)
whoops, that anonymous comment was from me!
la_marquise_de_
Mar. 23rd, 2012 10:34 am (UTC)
That's rather lovely.
ecmyers
Mar. 23rd, 2012 11:20 am (UTC)
That's incredible! I particularly love that it's still a creative space, and hopefully new books will continue to come out of it. (Or perhaps they already have?) Sounds like there's definitely some good energy there :)
oracne
Mar. 23rd, 2012 12:53 pm (UTC)
That's so cool!
p_zeitgeist
Mar. 23rd, 2012 12:57 pm (UTC)
I wish I'd been there, but you already knew that.

ellen_kushner
Mar. 23rd, 2012 02:30 pm (UTC)
Next time! She's very P.L.U. And she has the *best* silver tea service!
csecooney
Mar. 23rd, 2012 01:04 pm (UTC)
I love this. Beautiful and bizarre odds. A situation that seems perfectly to fit your life and your fiction.
jay_of_lasgalen
Mar. 23rd, 2012 01:52 pm (UTC)
What a terrific coincidence! It's a lovely looking building, too. I'm imagining the fireplace, and the wall Richard practised against :)
tournevis
Mar. 23rd, 2012 01:54 pm (UTC)
That you for making me smile this morning
That's when you realize that the cliché "you cannever come home again" is as much in the eye of the beholder as beauty.
ellen_kushner
Mar. 23rd, 2012 02:32 pm (UTC)
Re: That you for making me smile this morning
Ahh!

I am glad I made you smile. My post, I feel, did not do justice to the entire occasion; more like a postcard than a post...but at least you could see the contours!
(Deleted comment)
ellen_kushner
Mar. 23rd, 2012 02:40 pm (UTC)
I hope so, too.
genarti
Mar. 23rd, 2012 06:24 pm (UTC)
Oh, how completely lovely! What a marvelous confluence of chances.
(Anonymous)
Mar. 24th, 2012 11:08 pm (UTC)
I can't believe I never knew you have read Bab: A Sub Deb
One of my favorites!
ellen_kushner
Mar. 25th, 2012 05:48 am (UTC)
Re: I can't believe I never knew you have read Bab: A Sub Deb
And which anonymous friend are you, pray?
(Anonymous)
Mar. 25th, 2012 12:30 pm (UTC)
Interesting post
Given the TW news, a strange an wonderful, even magical pairing.

xxxJane Y

livejournal
Mar. 25th, 2012 11:29 pm (UTC)
March 26, 2012 Links and Plugs
User charlesatan referenced to your post from March 26, 2012 Links and Plugs saying: [...] n Kushner on You Can Go Home Again [...]
tithenai
Mar. 26th, 2012 01:27 pm (UTC)
This was so beautiful to read. Thank you.
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )

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