The Kind of September

In New York City history, The Virgin Cure, the writing life by ami6 Comments

So, it’s seven days into September and this one’s been lovely and good so far. And that’s important – because I’ve had at least a couple of Septembers that have left me wrecked. One in the late 90’s that ended in a personal upheaval of the heart and of course September of 2001 when I was, like the rest of the world, left fearful and lost.

Last year at this time I was in New York City, hoping to figure out what was missing from the story I was trying to tell in The Virgin Cure. I logged many hours at the library of the New York Historical Society (one of my favourite places on the planet!) I walked through the Metropolitan Museum of Art with my budding artist of a son, both of us awestruck over the J.M.W. Turner exhibit. I spent a beautiful evening with the NYC Buddhist community and people of all faiths setting lanterns afloat at the water’s edge.

Then, I walked the streets and sidewalks that had once been travelled by my great great grandmother in her work as a medical student and physician in the late 1800’s. As I went, I did my best to conjure up the memory of the women and children she served. I stood on Second Avenue, staring at the place where the Blackwell sister’s infirmary once was. I went to Third Avenue and Thirteenth Street, to see where Peter Stuyvesant’s great pear tree had lived for over 200 years. In those steps, on those streets that day I found my answer. I found the voice I’d been waiting for, the voice of my story, the voice of a little girl who wanted to become New York.


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