The first draft is finished, the second draft promised, the book launch date set for May 2017, a year from now (forever!). I finally felt a small bit of relief after talking to my editor who reassured me that my first draft is on point with most first time author’s drafts. I had been secretly terrified that she would say it was such a mess they couldn’t even give me a date. I had been performing a variety of austerities and I knew I wanted to mark the occasion somehow, but I couldn’t decide how.
The McKittrick has started throwing huge parties based on movies. My heart broke in two when I couldn’t go to Romeo + Juliet but I wasn’t entirely sure what it would be like until I started seeing the pictures turn up. When I heard they were doing Baz’s version of The Great Gatsby, I knew that the combination of my beloved Baz and The McKittrick could be my chance to step through the door. Usually dresses from Amazon are a very hit or miss affair for me, but the three dresses I ordered actually all fit perfectly and I got to have my choice of the three. Jow persuaded me into the black dress with black sequins and fringe just at the bottom and that wound up to be the right dress because I saw the other dress I liked on four or five different girls. I eventually collected the glittering headpiece that Daisy wore in the movie, long silver sparkling beads and a small satin purse.
Since this is real life and not actually a movie, I had a cold for it and I was losing my voice (along with the pair of back seamed stockings I intended to wear, so I had to go with another back seamed pair). Jow and I were supposed to have dinner at Gallow Green but it was cold and raining so we went to one of our other favorite little places. In New Jersey, it’s tradition to wind up at a diner completely over dressed on your way to or from somewhere. While lots of people looked at us, no one said anything. I was anxious about driving home so late and I had no idea where we would park.
Despite these anxieties, we got there in time and managed to snag a street parking space. We drank whiskey with cherries and admired all of the glittering young things, all dressed in tuxes and sequins dotted with small groups of goddesses in long white dresses with flowers in their hair. We moved farther into the McKittrick and danced in the lobby and then into the ballroom where an elegant flapper acted as the Green Fairy, dousing us with absinthe while the room filled with glitter. There were fan dancers in nude fishnets and a French man ardently repeatedly declared himself in love with me and I ardently declared I needed another glass of champagne and excused myself. I always worry that I won’t be able to handle that kind of attention, but when put on the spot I can generally put would be suitors in their place as needed. That was a good confirmation that I can handle myself with leveling up with glamour.
When we moved into another room to dance, I saw that the beautiful paper boats from Hecate’s story were dissolving in their niches with the cups being placed next to them. I couldn’t stand the idea of all of those boats melting down to nothing. I said to Jow, I am going to steal one. Usually Jow would be v. disapproving of such antics, but he was dancing voluntarily and had a good bit of whiskey in him though I think he spoke truly when he said, Why not you? I took a boat and shoved it into my tiny purse. The sail stuck out a little, but I didn’t care. I was reminded of a Dracula’s Ball, years ago. I was dressed in a black latex dress and it was raining then too. Someone had put Queen of the Damned posters up everywhere and I neatly stole one and rolled it up.
We were in the back of the ballroom and I couldn’t see, so I hoisted myself up onto a high surface, like I would have ten years ago. I watched the burlesque performers dancing with the McKittrick actors and danced to the music I could feel thrumming through my veins. Not too long after, a girl launched herself up to join me. Oh it’s so much better up here, she cried airily. There’s room to breathe!
I didn’t feel any differently though. But Jow said, maybe that’s the point. You are simply more yourself. I thought about managing to get that space with a little (coincidental) magic, waving off my suitor, dancing, admiring how the dancers held themselves and noting it for later, drinking just enough to feel satisfied but not at all too much*, stealing a boat like Rory Gilmore and laughing and having a great time. And maybe this is all there is. If so, I’m really good with that and comfortable with the space I occupy and that’s worth as much as Daisy’s pearls in this life.
* Unless they were Canadian French, all the French girl books are LIES. You would not believe how much the French youngs (girls no less!) were putting down!