This is heart-poundiogly good. Mysterious, foreboding, powerful, beautiful, loving, terrifying, all of it.

The line "I am in need of a writer" hooked me right in. It's fascinating to consider that line doing the same thing to me in 2023 as it did to you in 2009. It works on so many levels in the greater context of the story. My interpretation: the part of you that "wanted to be free" was in need of a writer, Katherine was in need of a writer, right-now-me as a reader is in need of you as a writer. I don't believe H was in need of a writer, he was clearly capable of writing compelling messages on his own.

"Pick a place downtown." The sense of preordination, the questions of agency. So well-evoked.

Your writing about the malleability of time and the transcendent is spot on. I felt things, and could imagine what you described. Love how you encapsulated the multi-faceted magic of living in NYC.

One small question: In this line, "I recall there was also a small kitchenette (never used) behind a curtain." I wondered why we jumped into present-day narrator's consciousness. Was it a reminder to the reader that all of this has already happened, maybe to create a sense of safety? Staying in the present would build the tension and that little shift releases it. I think either works depending on what you're trying to achieve. Gotta run so I can keep reading. It's hard to make myself stop and leave these notes because I want to turn pages.

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The thing that strikes me is the terribly uneven balance of power between the narrator and H. H asks 'Would you like to meet?' And then immediately, "Pick a place," so that the question of would you like to meet has not yet been answered. It feels ominous, like consent has not been given. And then there are three paragraphs in a row where H speaks, and the narrator merely "nods" or is "nodding" like she has no voice. I picture her with tape over her mouth. Not literally, but maybe it feels like she has tape over her mouth?

Also - "I squirmed as his gaze held me..." Powerful sentence and it made me thing of a small helpless animal being pinned down. I just feel so much danger coming from this person, although it is strange because H is potentially someone who has the power to change the narrator in a very beneficial way? I am thinking a theme might emerge that sometimes you have to traverse dangerous things in order to get to where you need to be.

I am fascinated by this project and I hope I am getting the assignment right. It "feels" strange though, and somewhat confusing. I am imagining that the story has already been written and I don't understand how the reader would be shaping. But I am curious to find out!

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Jan 21, 2023·edited Jan 21, 2023

OK, this is a ridiculous thing to do (as i haven't yet even finished reading all of this 2nd chapter, Schuyler) but i feel compelled to nevertheless immediately come here and leave a (fairly brief, i hope?) comment.

The resonance, in terms of my own familiarity (to varying degrees with each of the three geographical areas so far mentioned) relating to NYC is just so powerful...

Loving the language you're using and how excellently you're capturing the flavor of the two (both in Manhattan) that i'm more familiar with (i only know Brooklyn a little bit). OK, now back to read more (though it may be quite a while before i drop another comment here; perhaps not even until an additional chapter (or several?) are shared with us)...

So much appreciation for what you're trying to do, and incredibly grateful for the invitation to participate (and hopeful that others, possibly mutual friends of us both whom you've brought together via your previous offerings, will also join in).

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