Fresh Eyes

The Lower East Side of Manhattan — what a rich and vibrant place! Bustling, lively, small shops, ornate old buildings — so many sights and sounds. Just today, Alex, David and I took a trip we’d planned for a while down to the Tenement Museum for a tour. It was fun and gave me some writing fuel as well.

Our first stop was lunch at Katz’s world-famous deli — the joint was jumping and it was plastered with photos and autographs. I ate my pastrami sandwich right under Barbra Streisand’s nose. We stopped on an errand, then headed to the Museum’s bookstore to browse around and wait for our tour. What a find: a treasure trove of books about New York — everything from stories by F. Scott to How the Other Half Lives by Jacob Riis.

On our tour we stepped into a small building and visited two railroad apartments where we learned the histories of the families who lived there. In one apartment there was a small stack of books — dime-store romances that the young teenage girls who worked in sweatshops doing piecework would consume when they had some free time, which wasn’t often, since they worked six hours a day.

In my mind’s eye, I could just see these young girls poring over these novels in the tiny tenement parlor looking out over a crowded, noisy street in Lower Manhattan — and dreaming of other worlds. Who knows? Maybe they might have even read a story like the YA novel I’m writing. This trip reminded me how energizing it can be to take a break from our workday routines and plunge into other people’s lives for a while through a film or a play or a visit to an unfamiliar neighborhood. Any of these experiences can give us fresh eyes and enrich our writing.

About karinwritesdangerously

I am a writer and this is a motivational blog designed to help both writers and aspiring writers to push to the next level. Key themes are peak performance, passion, overcoming writing roadblocks, juicing up your creativity, and the joys of writing.
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