24 January

Lurching Off To The Emerald City

by Jon Katz
To The Emerald City


I’ve lived and worked in New York City a number of times in my life. My first job was as a copy boy at the New York Times. I returned to be Managing Editor of Us Magazine, and then again as Executive Producer of the CBS Morning News. I drove, bussed and trained into Manhattan carrying precious paper manuscripts of my first novel. I think of Manhattan as the Emerald City, the Citadel, entwined a number of times with my erratic life. Can you imagine what I might have thought had anyone told me I would eventually make my way to a farm in upstate New York with donkeys, dogs, cats and chickens? And write about it?

Now I’m heading back to Manhattan to figure out to meet with my children’s books editor to work out my third children’s book – “Rose To The Rescue” – and to also meet with my publisher  to talk about future publishing projects, including e-books. It seems I am always heading to the Emerald City to make my fortune, just like one of O Henry’s brave and eager shopgirls. I’ll get to see my daughter as sell. Maria is coming, too, taking her mother to the see the Metropolitan Opera, a birthday present for her. “Tosca,” I think.

This trek to the Emerald City has one twist – I’m lurching. Knee in a big bandage, ice packs all over the place, and I’m walking like Quasimodo. I think I need some notches for every time I fall down in a barn. I always chuckle when good-hearted people suggest Yak-Trax. I have four pairs of them, although half the time they get stuck in the snow and vanish. You know these people have never been in a hayloft (or used them around manure or two-foot snowdrifts). That’s the thing I always remember about advice. Just don’t give it, unless you are asked for it. And if you are asked for it, don’t give it then, either. Fools won’t take it, and smart people don’t need it.

So I’ll be back in a couple of days, hopefully walking in a straight line and able to put my socks and pants on by myself. The knee is definitely on the mend, and I am taking care not to mess it up again. I am not big on dependence. But I have learned that asking for help is the sign of a brave person, not a weak one. It is a gift all around to let people help you. Especially when you can’t stand up properly. Cabs will be fun.  I am lucky to be with a person who loves to help. Wish me luck. Lurching once more to the Emerald City.


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