Writer on the Roof

I’ve been up on the roof. no, not to throw myself off. There’s no WiFi up there. The lengths––or heights––I will go to in order to dodge the clutches of procrastination. I have a new writing project deadline which I’ll tell you about later.

You would have loved it up there this week. You hear the city below, the symphony of sirens, a school bell faintly, voices from other rooftops that sound like seagulls’ cries, a door slamming in the belly of the building, a car horn, but the noises are all so gentle and far far away. Even though I had work to do I felt like I was on holiday. On a beach even. I felt like one of those writers with the means to retreat to an exclusive island hideaway every time they have a deadline (I’m sure these blessed individuals still exist–I don’t know any but there must be some).

The world can seem so filled with possibility when I am lost in writing, imagination fired up. IMG_4146

IMG_4147I believed I was somewhere Balearic (I did!)

I think I settled on Formentera. Are you with me..?

We had some high temperatures this week so I even managed to get sunburnt on the back of my neck. This contributed to the holiday vibe as I usually find myself injured by the holiday sun.

At first I think we’re friends but I always learn we’re not.

Maybe looking for creativity I went closer to the sky. I was reaching. Maybe I still am with this analogy.


But while seeking divine inspiration I became obsessed with this little square building across from me with its big sprouting thatch of green.


Artfully disheveled and winking at me, (just my type) I was soon reminded of a French guy I met at a rave in 1996.

Inspiration and distraction, there they were again, those squabbling bedfellows.

Anyway…yes, that’s a secret garden, NYC-style. Lofty yet unobtrusive, compact but brimming, an English cottage garden on top of an Empire State walk-up.

Those passing by on the street below have no idea of its existence. Its pedestrian nether regions betray no hint of its quirky coiffure. It’s the business attire of Monday morning with the party brain of Friday night.

Back on our roof deck, other sprouts of green enticed me and I got up to run my fingers through the species of herbs thriving in their little pots. Little NYC citizens, one and all. I ate a tomato as if it was an apple.

Parsley, Sage, Russian Orthodox church and  Trader Joe’s…

IMG_4160IMG_4164Chili peppers…hmm…

Back at the keyboard, I decided to add a spicy twist…

But the smell of basil and origano on my fingers became too much. It was time to think about lunch.

Maybe the sun can make herself useful and keep my chair warm till I get back.IMG_4166While I continue to quietly battle distraction, procrastination, and sunburn let me direct you to my debut novel Silk for the Feed Dogs which is currently available. You can buy it here.


  1. I love the way that you take all advantage of city life. It was all new to me and took time to adjust…you just jumped right in there. 🙂

  2. Nothing like a roof top garden for inspiration…in my dreams lol

  3. Is it all yours or do you share with other tenants? Either way, it’s such a treat for New York.

  4. Sharon Mc Cracken Sowney

    Oooooohhh…wish I were there, on your rooftop-and your view of NYC!! As fir the raves…….those were the days;-) !!!! Lol

  5. Exquisite Rooftop! It deserves a snooze in the sun while sniffing the wafting herbal smells! No rooftop for me, just fire escapes – but I did walk the new addition of the High Line when coming home from work today. The rain and Holiday kept the crowds down…yours is still better! 🙂
    M. had a family emergency,so we got him taken care of yesterday: phone calls/ texts/ emails/ plane tickets/ packed for this morning — I went to work, he flew out. No FIT…but he did like the crop top and black pants – asked where the sequin skirt was….. Planning on FIT with a girl friend friend, next Saturday. XO

    • I snooze too easily, no encouragement necessary, D!
      I haven’t visited the latest addition to the High Line yet. Will try to do like you and choose a time when there are few people to really appreciate it. Hope all’s well with Master. Still want to hear about your FIT trip.

  6. I am glad you got to go on holiday 🙂 I always wanted a roof top garden, remember the one Andy MacDowell had on the movie Green card?

    • Yes, do you like how I managed to squeeze in a little end-of-summer excursion. Where there’s a will there’s a way.
      Oh I’d love to watch that again, to view the garden as well as many other reasons. She’s watering plants I think in one of the scenes if I recall…hmmm wonder if it’s on Netflix..? See, distracted again. I might not be able to look at Gerard Depardieu quite the same though since his recent shenanigans…

  7. I love rooftops! When I was younger, I dreamed I’d live in a room on the top. It was customary in Greece to built these little rooms, intended to be used as storage spaces; only some (entrepreneurial minds :-)) extended and used them as studios of sorts. As you can guess, imagination of a little girl running wild… xxx

    • Ha that’s so funny as I have taken to referring to this lovely (shared) rooftop as my upstairs writing studio 🙂 These Greeks know a thing or two about the basic necessities of life XO

  8. Excellent photographic ekphrasis – beautifully written Jackie.

    • I can always be sure that when you comment or post that I will learn something invaluable. So off I trotted to my girl Merriam Webster’s house to request counsel and I was rewarded. Now I shall be endeavoring to use ekphrasis in a sentence every day this week (fun for all concerned!)
      I didn’t know that’s what I was doing but boy I’m mighty glad I pulled it off. A case of beginner’s luck but I’ll take it! Thanks Mike.

  9. What a wonderful writing space. I’ve lived in a couple of apartment buildings where we could hang out on the roof. But we (meaning me and perhaps one or two other women) tended to use the roofs for nude or semi-nude sunbathing. No lovely greenery or herbs to temper the dark gray tar of the roof. I stopped sunbathing on the roof of my building in Oakland when we had an earthquake. I didn’t want my mom to read the headline, “Topless girl found in roof rumble after earthquake.”

  10. I hope they know its really yours and you just allow other interlopers at the weekend..I think you need to try paper aeroplanes with cryptic messages for the oasis across the way… xxx

  11. You’ve an amazing imagination Jackie. I love how your bring inanimate objects to life. That rooftop is great. I’d climb up on
    my own if it wasn’t sloping! 🙂

    • Oh thanks Olivia! You’re too kind.
      I remember I climbed on the roof one hot summer in our rented apartment in East London, and my foot went through to the kitchen ceiling 🙂
      Such was the nature of my student accommodation, may it rest in peace!

  12. Ooohhh how I’d love to bury myself in that lush green jungle roof top right now! Looks like a lovely sanctuary for getting centered alone 🙂 Hope writing was delicious and I look forward to hearing more about what you are working on. Have a beautiful week, love!


    • An absolute little zen garden, isn’t it? You could compose your wonderful poetry up there. I promise I wouldn’t bother you, except to bring you a cleansing tisane when you needed a break 🙂

      • See, you so get me. Especially today, not sure if it was the eclipse or what but my vibes are crossed today! Need some zen time, some grounding meditations.

        Thank you for the herbs, love! You never bother me 🙂

  13. With a view like this, who needs wifi? As for procrastination, it’s always important to stop and smell the sprouts and bask in the beautiful sunshine.

    XOXO N & N

  14. “Stop and smell the sprouts” will be my new daily mantra 🙂 Thanks for that! XO

  15. What a fantastic view you have from the roof. The scent of oregano makes me want to cook tomato sauce.

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