I've discovered that I'm that kind of writer. The kind I look down upon: the amateur who gets into a groove and coasts for a while and then realizes that they only have one trick up their sleeve. My friends have been trying to describe that trick, and have done so in ways that make me laugh. Joni says that my game is this: depress my readers with heart-wrenching tales so that they want to eat to stuff the pain back down deep inside, and then tell them what to eat to get the job done. A perfect feedback loop. Another friend, Brad, proposed the following title for my future bestseller: "Women with Balls, Men Without Shirts, and Food Salted with Tears."
This post comes after a long break; I was in Paris, one of my cities. There are three metropolises in the world that are mine. Three places in which I feel, not perfectly at home, nor perfectly at ease, but perfectly at unease: where the strangeness of city life is exactly the strangeness that I can embrace, or tolerate, or endure. I love people for their faults -- I can admire a person's great qualities, accomplishments, and virtues, but I can only love them if I find their self-deceptions, insecurities, and character flaws heartbreaking and sweet at once -- and the same goes for places. New York I love for its inhumanity, its cruelty, its rush of people and traffic and money and words; in that inhuman place I can operate invisibly, part of the world but not of it, in a little bubble that gets knocked around and ignored but out of which I can see the most amazing things. Bombay I love for its claustrophobic-inducing crush of beings, its predilection for wearing people to the bone, its hungry hordes (not simply hungry from lack but sometimes instead from ambition); in this place where no one feels they have enough -- and where many genuinely don't -- I can recognize my own satedness, but I can also feel fully spent, exhausted, stripped to the bone.