I crossed Broadway in the middle of 13th and 14th street last night, moving from the west side of the street to the east. I had the light, and as I looked to my left, I saw that the street was clear of any vehicles. I love the fleeting sense of room that you find in New York as traffic sits at a red light. It doesn’t last long, less than a minute I’m sure. At first it feels empty and then slowly, the momentum builds up again and then whoosh, the action is back.
But for a brief moment, the buzz of cars and buses and trucks and bikes, comes to a halt, and there is nothing but space. Freedom and space. It is something so routine in daily life here in New York that I often don’t register it, but even subconsciously, it feels like a small treat.
I went to Forbidden Planet to pick up some Christmas gifts–original Star Wars action figures–for my nephews and then, with some time to kill before I met a friend for dinner, went to the Strand to browse. I haven’t been reading much baseball literature these days, but I found myself in the basement anyway, looking at the sports books. And guess what? There on the shelves, near the Roger Angell books and Allen Barra’s Yogi Berra biography were two copies of the book I wrote about Curt Flood. And they weren’t even dirt cheap at ten bucks a pop.
Well, to me, this is a milestone of sorts because I’ve been introduced to so many great books through used book stores. I know it is a backward thing to wish for–most writers hope to be on the best-seller list, and belive me, I’m no exception–but still, it was a satisfying moment.
I don’t think back on the Flood book much these days. It was something I did and now it seems like it all happened a long time ago. I’m proud of it, of course, but it’s not something I identify with too tough. I did it, it’s out there in the world, and now, I’m on to the next thing. But to see it sitting there on the shelves I’ve patrolled all these years, well, that was as sweet a Christmas gift as I could ever ask for.