I'm still here. But I am not driving the cab these days, which is why I haven't been writing online. Instead, I'm hauling ass on Draft 2 of The Book. And so after each day of work on this, I'm too burned out to write something even marginally interesting here. I feel bad about it, but more than that, I feel bad about not driving the cab. It has been such a huge part of my life and identity for the past few years, it's just weird to not be doing it. I keep saying I'm simply on hiatus, but who the fuck knows? Maybe I've actually quit and I just don't know it yet.
Strangely, my life has never been more insular and sheltered than it is now, which is the total opposite of what it was when I was driving. But each day I'm reliving my experiences in the cab and writing (and rewriting) them all down. It's not the easiest thing in the world, but it's a lot more fun than actually driving. My body has never felt better either, so that's another thing that's keeping me from going back. I never fully realized how sitting in a cab for 12 hours at a time was destroying my muscles and my kidneys and my mental health.
Anyway, this is just to check in and say hello. A lot of people have written with questions for me and I've been really bad at writing back. So I'll address two of the most common questions here:
1. The book is tentatively titled "New York Hack." Very original, I know. It is slated to be published in the fall of 2007.
2. Seems a lot of people want to become cab drivers and want advice on how to go about getting their hack licenses. I can only recommend you do what I did and go to the TLC website and follow their instructions. But make sure you follow them very carefully, because if you make one little mistake, they will make you start the whole damn process over again. Good luck with that.
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Cool, thx for the update...i still check the RSS every day. The downtime must be cool...my brother-in-law ended up with bad kidney issues after truck driving for years. Took a wreck to get him out of it.
I check my RSS everyday, too. I've been wondering what you've been up to:)
And, I have absolutely no desire to become a cab driver...
Yay, MP! we all miss you!
Hey MP, Great to hear that you are doing fine. I have been wondering how all the writing was going & you answered my questions. Just remember if you need a break it's a short flight to Tonawanda, NY. Just think you could visit one of the great wonders of the world & relax at the same time. Niagara Falls is the great wonder that I am speaking about, just for the record. Well take it easy & I'll be waiting for your next update.
Well Hi Backatcha! Glad your well and writing. Take a deep breath and keep on plowin' thru. Thanks for giving me something to look forward to next fall.
Why don't you go out, grab a cab, throw a double sawbuck on the front seat and tell 'em to give ya twenty bucks worth. Might fill in that inkling a bit without the backache!
Great for you. Looking forward to the book. Trying to write a lot myself, it ain't fricking easy.
Good luck with your writing! I can't wait to see the book! I'm inspired by how far your writing and your unique perspective on NYC have taken you. From cabbie to blogger to (soon to be) published author -- you are a pretty cool New York story yourself!
so if you end up not driving the cab anymore, wont your publishing company say something to you?
I mean this is a book based on the experience of a cab driver....not an ex-cabdriver
well good luck with everything
love the website
I think it is a bad business move on your part for not writing at least once a week to carry on your fans until your book comes out or beyond, you're selling yourself short by a few thousands of books by not updating your blog. You can still write some experiences of other drives you know and make it interesting if you run out of stories. But hey, what the hell do I know!
Wish you well.
Thanks for checking in.
People have to realize that writing a book is as mentally draining as any other job.
And editors telling you one moment that there is not enough detail and then the next moment saying that you've got too many details.
Plus, you have to have a social life away from work and driving cab 5x12 didn't help that at all. And writing a book is such a solitary existence.
I patiently await for whenever and whatever you can find the time to share.
Nice to hear you doing somewhat better. I really do miss your blog. I'm not a fan of cabbies but you are an example of an everyday working person.
I'll be looking for your book. Good luck.
Haul ass on that book! I can't wait till it comes out. Good luck MP!!!!
Thanks for the info, you should check back in again.
am in a city where English book is a scarcity, so I do hope your book will be available through amazon.com:)
Cab driving definitely take a toll on your mental health, odd that. I know a few drivers that can go 12 hours without using the bathroom or eating because they don't want to miss a call! You may feel insulated from the world right now < or is it safe from the world?> but we are still here waiting and watching for your next words. Good Luck M.P., your doing what your supposed to.
And to anyone who wants to be a cabdriver, it's not a glamourous as it looks!!
Hopefully you're not sitting at a desk for 12 hours straight trying to complete this second draft...
So happy to hear from you! I can't wait to see your book. Best of luck with the writing.
I am glad to hear you are still "here". I keep coming back, hoping there will be more adventurous tales for you to tell. Maybe you could just talk about what life is like writing a book? I love the taxi cab stories, but I think it is because of how you tell them more then that it is about hacking...
You are so right about the ordeal of having to drive a car or bus for a living.
I used to manage a horse and buggy during the war WWII in Manila. I was 11 and the war years under the Japanese was unkind - any war is, so I got my parents to buy two horses and a carriage (popular still in Manila's remote reaches where motor vehicles cannot squeeze in.)I look forward to your book or your report on cab driving. Ciao and good luck.
I've enjoyed your blog for about a year. I live in Wa. state but am a native New Yorker and I drove a cab as a part time job from 1960 through 1963.
I guess I was lucky. All of my experiences were positive.
The best of luck with "THE BOOK". I look foward to buying it.
Missed you MP! Can't wait for your book!
-Renee' in California
It's a shame that you are not still driving your cab - I know you can't fit everything in a day, but I do miss those amusing stories of your life in a New York Cab.
I hope your book does really well.
Good Luck. xx
what will book number two be about ? good luck with whatever you do.
Just love your blog and the book sounds fascinating. I know how the writing process can be - I'm finishing my dissertation, working on a book idea and trying to get some articles published - and it is all consuming. Keep at it - but take a break now and then to blog! ;-)
I cant wait to but it !!
Writing a book is a little like joining a monestary. Secluded, deprived and angst producing. Seems like all your fans are likely to hang with you so you don't need to worry.
I have to agree with 'Mad Cabbie', Melissa. You've gotten yourself quite a fan base established. You'll keep your hardcore fans, but many of the other readers may tend to lose interest if you don't post something every week or so.
Maybe, you could relate some small event that you haven't mentioned before. It doesn't have to be long, just something to keep interest going.
Remember that each book sold is money in your pocket. :o)
I'm glad that your health is better, and you feel better now.
As Will says:"Thanks for cheking in".
Do you remember me? I'm from Buenos Aires and I really miss you, you were my bridge with N.Y. city.
It isn't easy to write a book,you said, Your opinion help me 'couse I hope to write mine soon.
Hope you willgo on cheking in.
You could always drive a taxi as a hobby. This little vegemite spent about five years driving full-time, and yes it does make you cynical and callous and somewhat depressed.
But as a weekend hobby? It's a great excuse to not do the housework, you get a reasonably comfy chair to sit in, in an airconditioned room with a view, and every so often you have a conversation with someone, at the end of which they hand you money.
Virtually the only hobby where you finish the day with more money than when you started. :)
Thanks for the update.....been wondering about ya!
God thank god ur back.. was kinda getting boring without you around!!
We are your fans, please post a NYC photo -- yours were great --- and sheesh, even two sentences. Don't forget about us! I live on the West Coast and get aches for NYC. Your photos & comments fed me better than a bagel. Good luck with writing the book. Pour it out from your heart about all that is important. You got style, it'll be good.
I hear they're trying to outlaw vegemite from the states...... something to do with an ingredient.
Too bad for my Aussie friends, but I'd personally never eat the stuff. :o(
I'm sorry, but I have to agree with Mad Cabbie and EverJack1. You really should try to update your blog more often or people will lose interest in you and in your blog, and consequently, your book. For example, I just about never come here anymore because I don't expect updates and I'm starting to forget about this place whereas I used to check this for updates every day. And I'm not saying this to be mean/insulting, I'm saying it to be honest and to help you. I know that writing a book must be very demanding and take up a lot of your time, but it would be all for nothing if you've already lost your fan base. Good luck with it.
I miss reading about your experiences on the blog, but its nice to know that you are liking it.
good luck with your book.
I miss reading about your experiences on the blog, but its nice to know that you are liking it.
good luck with your book.
Remember, Melissa, that "absence makes the heart grow fonder" doesn't apply to blogs.
It's human nature that people have short attention spans, especially in this fast-paced world of ours. Don't let your fans forget you. Keep in touch with your fan base. We're here for you.
" I never fully realized how sitting in a cab for 12 hours at a time was destroying my muscles and my kidneys and my mental health."
I always said you hacks weren't quite right up there. ;)
We had a driver here in Dublin who wrote a book called Life in a rear view mirror.I think his name was Tim Rouane.It was a best seller for a few months,He drove a taxi for a year to collect all the info.
Good luck with your effort.MP
I hope the contract you signed is for ONE book...looking forward to it...
whatever you do, be happy
Glad to hear that all is well. Hope you are enkoying the rewriting- that's the fun part!
Why don't you blog about how the reading went?
can't wait for "new your hack" to come out... i'll be one of the first to buy it.
remember to have fun while your writing, it keeps the spirit going!
that's really awesome! congratulations on being on the second draft, and i'm really excited for the release of the book. i'll definitely have it in my hands when it does come out :)
after you wrote hat did you break out into some old man river showtunes ? lame ass excuse to your fans . Without driving that cab you are exactly as you were before ....a writing HACK. Too late to start driving the cab now because I , and I'm sure many others just don't care anymore .Feels like waiting for a cab that never shows .How appropriate for your end.
Hey Kid, Jake Allen here with Journeys of Abigail. I'm down in the Caribbean with problems of my own.
I think you need to hand the reigns over to another driver. Kind of like Johnny Carson having a guest host. That way you can keep your site rolling, not loose your following, and have a chance to keep in touch with updates on your book, or any other opportunities. There has to be a Hack out there that can help you out.
Hey maybe you could just post pictures after you take a little walk after you have been sitting there writing all day cause us peeps way out in the boonies like to look at pictures of nyc and you take such great pics. THEN maybe your next book could just be pics and you wouldn't have to do it over cause you can't really redo pics, RIGHT?
It really is too bad that we haven't heard from you in so long. I agree with the others who say that neglecting this blog is most likely going to alienate many of your readers...not a great outcome for what has been an awesome blog. I would hate to see it all go. I think just a little blurb here or there would really go a long way. Remember that these comments are coming from the fan base that has made it possible for you to get your book published in the first place. We miss you and are feeling a little neglected. Best of luck in your writing!
To all those bereft of metaphysical meaning to their lives...There are no gods...NOR GODDESSES...Look in the mirror, Mortal, and cultivate your OWN garden.
I was in the city last week, and I was wondering if you were driving, and then I thought about figuring out what the chances of actually getting you for a driver if you were driving in the first place...and I got a headache so I stopped wondering.
Hey, get back in that cab. You're making me jealous!
Great you come back, pls write more and often, we all like to read your blog.
Hey folks. Give MP a break. She is working on the second draft of her book. That requires a lot of effort and by the time she is done, writing for the blog become a tedious after thought. Like everyone else I miss her weekly missives, but she owes us nothing. She started this blog for her own pleasure and we just came along for the ride.
We know how much she disliked driving and it was done as a means of keeping the wolves from her door.
We all want her book to be a great success. Thats where she needs to devote all her efforts and energy at the moment.
Hopefully, as she proceeds through her life, she'll be kind enough to share parts of it with us. If not, then it has been a pleasurable diversion for everyone. A brief glimpse behind the windshield of the world of a New York Hack. Melissa is an intelligent, witty, beautiful and adventuresome lady. She had the guts to do something that 99.9% of you wouldn't have the balls to try.
Melissa owes no one anything, so lay off trying to give her a guilt trip about not posting.
She'll share what she wants, when she wants and how she wants.
Live with it.
When we can buy your book? I'm running a company in Korea and asking all my staffs to read your blog daily!
Yo ho ho Melissa! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and the draft is going well.
By the way, I'm not sure exactly why this popped into my head, other than you mentioned looking for a new adventure. A good friend of mine worked on this wagon train...
im deleting this diary from my bookmarks because you are so materialistic that you quit writing in it as soon as you got a book deal -- way to be a sell out
The book...please don't tell me it is simply a re-hash of all the stories already on here.
This is so sad that you cannot write the blog any more. I hope that your have success with your book and all that you do.
I am going to delete blog this from my "bookmarks" because there isn't any need to check here any more. Our New York Hack has left the blog.
I wish you would update more often. I know you rarely drive the cab anymore but I have been reading your blog for sometime now and miss your interesting escapades. Hope all is well.
>>I hear they're trying to outlaw vegemite from the states...... something to do with an ingredient.<<
Some folks took offense at the kangaroo meat. They're seeing if spotted owl works as a substitute.
yep sometimes it feels bad when you donot do what you like to do .
Why on earth would these people ever want to be cab drivers? Perhaps driven by the hope of a possible weird thrill (like somebody threatening their lives and taking their money) that they can write a book about and later turn into a movie. But that's a pretty long way to go for a book deal anyways.
Jeez. Some people like to drive cabs. Some people are forced to do it for a living. Not everyone is fortunate enough to sit in an office building twidling thumbs and make 100 grand a year! What you said is just idiotic.
Miss your blog!
All i can say is that it's getting so long between posts that at times i'm even forgetting it's on my favorites and then when i click and see no change i'm disappointed. I think you're book will be great but unfortunately if you do have this hope in your head that your blog readers are gonna help your sales, well hon i don't think that's gonna happen.
You gave us a great blog in the beginning and it got truly greater as you showed us your viewpoint in details that were rich in description and made us feel for a moment or two that we rode along with you.
When the anonymous side of you was writing therein lay the highest entertainment point of the blog but you wavered soon after we all knew who M.P. was and what she looked like. It almost seems to me that if you were a tv sitcom, you would have "jumped the shark" at this point.
Of course, Melissa Plaut, we can tell you till we're blue in the face that your blog meant something to us dedicated readers and that we'd love you to update it more often, even if the focus wasn't on driving a taxi cab. You have a style of writing that would captivate because you are good at it. Think on that.
Until then, i will leave your blog in my favorites and occasionally i will remember it's there and i'll come over and have a peek to see if anything is happening. Good luck on writing. It just takes dedication to do it daily. I know. I write for a living too. And yes, blogging when not working on the book is good practice too.
Cab driving is actually a nice job.
The word "Hack" is derived from "hackney"
c.1700, originally, "person hired to do routine work," short for hackney "an ordinary horse" (c.1300), probably from place name Hackney (Middlesex), from O.E. Hacan ieg "Haca's Isle" (or possibly "Hook Island"). Now well within London, it was once pastoral. Apparently nags were raised on the pastureland there in early medieval times and taken to Smithfield horse market (cf. Fr. haquenée "ambling nag," an Eng. loan-word). Extended sense of "horse for hire" (1393) led naturally to "broken-down nag," and also "prostitute" (1579) and "drudge" (1546). Special sense of "one who writes anything for hire" led to hackneyed "trite" (1749); hack writer is first recorded 1826, though hackney writer is at least 50 years earlier. Sense of "carriage for hire" (1704) led to modern slang for "taxicab." Hacker "one who gains unauthorized access to computer records" is 1983, from slightly earlier tech slang sense of "one who works like a hack at writing and experimenting with software, one who enjoys computer programming for its own sake," 1976, reputedly coined at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Hack (v.) "illegally enter a computer system" is first recorded 1984.
I have to assume that you are busy , but I still would like to think you care enough to continue the blog. I will continue to check for a bit longer. AL
You must see how the comments are slowing down...people have stopped coming! Please come back!!!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Coming to you from Texas!
Well, you did it...I'm deleting this site as a favorite and soon it will be forgotten. It was an amazing site when you kept it updated and I couldn't wait to read more of your adventures.
But now...you left us alone and blue balled...way to go.
i was looking for somewhere to stay in new york and found this place very helpful
Yea! The hack is back!
I like what Jake Allen wrote. And it's true that there is another cabdriver on the streets of New York that can help you out. Me! A slightly different writing style than yours, but nonetheless out there and trying to put it all down into words and pictures. I dream of having even the smallest string of readers enjoying my blog, but that's not the case. Anyhow, please don't take what comes your way for granted. These people are/were tuned in. Keep it that way.
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