I’m on a self-imposed retreat of sorts in Manhattan. I am staying in a charming apartment in NOLITA. In fact, this place was my first sublet in New York.

I fell in love with this apartment the first time I saw it in 1994. I stayed here for a week right before I went to London then Prague with the boyfriend who was on sabbatical. The moment I climbed those five flights of steps and unlocked the door, it was love at first sight.

It’s not one of those fabulous pre-war spaces with long hallways that seem endless and where there’s room after room. Not at all. This is what’s was termed a railroad or a coldwater flat. It’s about 350 square feet, possibly 400 square feet. It used to be two rooms with a water closet. When you first walk in, the tub is on your left. Now it’s just one large room, minimally decorated with a tiny space that serves as a kitchen. It’s been renovated quite a bit. The WC is actually a larger bathroom cum storage closet. There’s a new stove, and there are roomy, new cabinets.

When I first lived here, the brick wall was it’s natural color, now it’s painted white, which lightens the room quite a bit. Beautifully framed mirrors add that trompe d’oeil of a larger room (and also shows a larger me).

I don’t covet much of anything, but I this apartment is the exception. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve always had such a good feeling about it. From the very first time I set foot in it to now, it’s always felt like home. The perfect little nest to live and write. Just the right size for me and my two four-legged rascals.

So much for the apartment, let’s ger back to his retreat, which has a few purposes—to work on Julius, write a few blog entries, and to visit some galleries for HAND/EYE for an upcoming art gallery and museum themed issue.

Although I will be getting together with friends, for the most part I’ll be alone. No dogs, no significant other, no interruptions or commitments. Just me and this netbook and the big city. I have to admit, though, that I am out of practice of spending 24 hours of not having anyone around me. Back on the tiny island, even though I barricade myself in my little space there’s always something going around or I have a beagle sleeping close to me or a pesky Jack Russell getting into trouble and constantly interrupting me. Here, in this apartment I love so much, there’s nothing. I hear the traffic from outside, but that’s white noise to me (although, I hear some heavy duty drilling; that’s actually more annoying than listening to the dialog from Rodan.)

Now that I have had my coffee and yogurt, it’s time to get the day started, and get some writing done before I go on my various excursions. What’s on the agenda for Julius? Finish Jake’s bio, and start the outline for the second part of Julius, and complete another chapter revision.

Time to retreat and write.