October 28, 2007
There are all the actual events to report on, of course. Schuyler loved the American Museum of Natural History, as we figured she would. She abducted my agent's assistant to be her personal plaything while we explored the museum. Schuyler also managed to lose her mind in FAO Schwarz for a good three hours before picking out a toy that she saw during her first five minutes in the store. The friends of mine that she met on this trip were instantly her own best friends, and while she became a little wild and overstimulated by the city now and again, she nevertheless remained cheerful and wickedly charming. I've never been prouder of her, and that's saying a lot.
Our meeting with St. Martin's Press went very well, as I figured it would. Schuyler charmed everyone at what ended up being a very well-attended meeting, including an appearance by the publisher herself, who shook Schuyler's little hand like she would any professional author's and expressed her own personal interest in and excitement for the book. Those of you who have asked about a book tour may be disappointed to learn that there are not presently plans for an actual tour, but there are other possibilities afoot that might land me in your town at some point. Besides (and this is probably shameless even for me), publishers are known to quickly put together a tour if a book has strong early sales and good word of mouth. So, you know, I'm just saying.
I also got to see an actual bound galley of my book. Which was, to be totally uncool, very cool.
Another thing that I think I can mention now (and enough people at SMP admitted to reading the blog that I assume I'll get a quick, frantic email from someone if I'm not supposed to say anything yet) is that in February or March, it looks like Schuyler's Monster will be featured in Wondertime, a fun and really well-written, hipster-y parenting magazine that I've liked for a while. (The first four issues they put out a few years ago included a series of articles about a little boy with a similar speech disorder as Schuyler's, and it was well-done enough to catch and keep my attention.) Wondertime is published by Disney, so it should be easy enough to find. I'm in league with The Mouse now. I assume they won't pick a part where I sound like a vulgar yokel. Good luck with that, Wondertime.
I had some fancy pants author moments, but mostly, I was a dad on this trip. More than that, I think Schuyler and I became better friends this week, sharing experiences that required few words. After our meeting at St. Martin's, I took her for a walk towards the Empire State Building, site of her hero's last stand against pesky bi-planes. About half a block away, I told her to close her eyes. I led her to the corner, got my camera in place, and then told her to open her eyes and look up. I thought I'd get a photo of her look of amazement. Instead, I captured a moment of pure, unbridled joy, a full-throated howl of recognition and challenge, as if she were ready to take up the battle herself. She did the same thing the first time she saw King Kong, when he leapt out of the jungle to save his girl from the dinosaurs. It is easily my favorite photo of the trip. It might be my favorite ever.
I watched Schuyler as she took in the city, observing as she attempted to make friends with other riders on the subway (with admittedly mixed results) and as she yearned to help a man passed out in the street, sadly telling me about him for the next three blocks. She told me all about what she was seeing, things that amazed her such as looking down on buildings with gardens on their roofs. During the many uninterrupted hours we shared, she asked me questions about my own father that she'd never asked before, and listened earnestly as I tried to explain what it means when someone dies. We became closer than ever, closer than I thought possible, in ways that the parents of neurotypical kids might take for granted but which felt like gifts to me.
I saw the city through Schuyler's eyes and was never bored, and if I thought this trip was going to be about what Schuyler got out of it, about what she stood to learn from the experience, I was as wrong as I've ever been in my life.
I'm trying to explain what this trip meant to me, and to Schuyler, but I'm failing miserably. And perhaps that's okay. The best parts, the ones I can't explain very well, they belong to us anyway.