New Here

I’m new here. “Here” as in Beaufort Books/Spencer Hill Press/Midpoint Trade Books, but also “here” as in New York City. Aside from a term abroad in London, I have never lived in a big city—I grew up in a small town in New Hampshire, attended college in Upstate New York, and now have landed myself in one of the biggest cities in the world, with only Google Maps and my phone’s battery life standing between myself and the tangled maze of subway lines and subterranean architecture that is my commute.

As you can probably understand, I found the subway system to be very overwhelming. The sounds, the smells, the rush hour crowding, and the awkward eye contact with and uncomfortably close proximity to large businessmen did nothing to calm my small-town nerves. On one of my worst days, I lost my balance on the 5 train and fell into the laps of a very surprised and less-than-pleased older couple. In my short time commuting I have also: taken the A train in the wrong direction for several stops, apologized to a garbage bag for stepping on it, and sat in mystery subway juice. Delicious.

Despite my rocky start, I have slowly been settling in to the public transportation life. My advice to fellow newcomers: arm yourself with a pair of headphones and carry at least one good book with you at all times. I’ve been able to find oases in subway seats, reading poetry and listening to my favorite songs. I’ve also found the courage to journal in public, though I usually reserve that for when I don’t feel like I have a car full of people looking over my shoulder.

Although I do want to untangle my mental map of the city and leave my nerves behind, I hope that I retain my small-town sense of wonder as I make the transition from baby Brooklynite to savvy city slicker. One of my friends told me that I’m “cute, but so not a New Yorker” because I got genuinely excited when a group of street performers started dancing in our train car. That’s okay by me—being cute seems like it’s more fun, anyway.


*This blog post is being shared on both Beaufort Books and Spencer Hill Press.