I waited…and waited…and waited for the 6 train at 28th yesterday. It was lunchtime, and I was heading down to the East Village to drop off flyers for a book party I’m having next week.
See, after the wild success of The New York Commuter’s Glossary, I’ve ventured into fiction–publishing the novel No Never No More a few weeks back. I’m reading from the thing at an Irish pub called Dorian Gray on Wednesday the 22nd. It shall be fun. C’mon by. If you say you saw this on Trainjotting, I will buy you a Guinness.
I also had a handful of copies of the new book on me: one to leave on the bar at Dorian Gray to, hopefully, drum up a bit of interest, and a few to put on the shelves of St. Mark’s Books.
The “Next train arrives in…” digital sign said the downtown train was due in four minutes. Then it was three, and two–and back to four again.
A train goes by, honking its horn, stopping for no one.
Finally, around 10 minutes after I arrived on the platform, and after I’d read the whole of AM-New York…twice…the 6 arrived.
I got on and found my usual spot, standing, back to the door between cars. Claustrophobia thing.
And who’s sitting adjacent to the door but the filmmaker Jim Jarmusch…you know, Down By Law (the jailbreak one with Tom Waits) and Night on Earth (the taxicab one with Winona Ryder) and Broken Flowers (the one that showed, along with Lost in Translation, that Bill Murray could be serious) and Mystery Train (Joe Strummer! Steve Buscemi!) and Ghost Dog (Forest Whitaker as a ninja!). Cool indie stuff, as you can gather.
He’s chatting with some NY Film Academy-type hipster, who gets off at the next stop.
There’s really no one around but me and Jarmusch, sporting a helmet of bright white hair and black shades. I’m looking for reasons not to do what I’m about to do, and really can’t come up with one. He’s not sleeping, he’s not talking, he’s not listening to music.
Most important, he’s not reading.
So I take a copy of my novel out of my bag, and hand it to him.
“Something for you to read on the train,” I said. “I wrote it.”
“You wrote this?” he said. “You’re Mike Malone?”
“Yup,” I said.
“I love the cover,” he said.
I looked for signs from him to back off–I’m really no good at this self promotion thing.
Sensing none, I told him a bit of the back story about the book. I’d written it in 2000. It had a different title and a lot more coarse language. I had an agent, and another agent. (For the full back story, you can see what they said about me in the Mount Pleasant Daily Voice). I had near misses with editors. I had a kid and moved out of the city and finally, a year ago, vowed to get the damn novel over the finish line.
He smiled and congratulated me.
We spoke a bit about his current stuff–a film called Only Lovers Left Alive that will show at Cannes, starring Tilda Swinton, as half of a couple that’s been in love for 200 years. “Vampires,” he added.
He got up to leave at 14th Street. We shook hands. He thanked me for the book.
No, seriously, dude–thank you.