21 May, 2011
Entering the Zone
There are three phases to any journey: the going, the being there and the leaving/return.
All pilgrims know a journey begins the moment you decide to go – and I have just entered the last of my going days.
Tomorrow I fly.
I am exhausted. I am excited. I know nothing will ever be the same from the moment I arrive at Brisbane airport at five o’clock tomorrow morning to enter into the one of the most delicious zones on Earth – international transit. Mmm-mmmmmmmmmm. Nothing can be the same because the summit of outstanding business in my life – New York City – will have been reached and I have no idea what lies beyond that dream.
I have done all I can do to prepare for New York. No sooner have my wonderful whiteboard assistants cleared their lists of things to do than the coloured markers have mushroomed again with new ideas. Body, heart, mind and soul, it’s been a round the clock mission ever since I visited qantas.com three weeks ago.
New York. Foundation stone of life’s twin pillars: Hope and Possibility. I know this because it is reflected back to me from the hearts and faces of the people around me – strangers and friends – when they hear of my mission.
New York City. Home of buildings and places and people of such iconic value that 12,000 miles away they are burned into my being without consciousness. Manhattan. Brooklyn. Queens. Broadway. Times Square. Madison Square Gardens. Upstate. Emma Goldman. Rick Blaine. Grace Jones: ju-ust, the Apple stretching and yawning, good morning, New York (although I can’t imagine Grace ever being awake at that hour). Saks. Fifth Avenue. Guggenheim. Statue of Liberty: give me your tired, your poor; your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Lady Gaga. Whoopi Goldberg. Woody Allen. Lou Reed. Al Pacino. Mary Tyler Moore. Fran Drescher. Oscar Hammerstein. Mae West: too much of a good thing can be wonderful. The Roosevelts. The Rockefellers.
The purpose of language, says Rumi, according to the spiritual historian Andrew Harvey, is ‘to show you something far off,’ to show you ‘something moving, trembling in the distance, like a heat mirage.’ And to inspire you with all your power to go to the place emanating this mysterious light.*
He wasn’t talking about New York. But most of the rest of us are.
New York. Beacon of possibility and hope.
The place beyond which life begins anew, no outstanding business!
The place emanating the mysterious light.
Oh! but of course . . . there is my year among the reindeer people of the north . . . . a different light.
Salut the mystery!
* From The Way of Passion, by Andrew Harvey – which, glazing over his harping about the end of the world, is the book I would choose if stranded alone on a desert island with only one book.
Just weighing my bags on a wizzy baggage weighing thingy and do you know how generous baggage allowances are to the US from Australia?
2 x 23kgs. That’s 46 kilos! Baggage heaven for an author on a mission.
For I have filled my bags with books, which is a such a delight, because when I booked the ticket, before I discovered the 46kg possibility, I thought I’d only be taking a few books with my on my expedition to find an international publishing deal.
And as I was giving thanks to massive US baggage allowances brimming with my books, I remembered a question someone asked me, just the other day:
‘What if you fail?’ they said.
‘Fail?’ I replied. ‘Fail!’
I am going to New York City.
I am going to New York City for one whole month.
I am going to New York City for one whole month on an intrepid adventure to find an international publishing deal.
I have won already.
The world is mine for having taken one breath of this city.
For having stepped one foot in this city.
For having lived, for one month, in New York.