February 05, 2010
So you’re just coming off a crazy book tour where you did readings in people’s living rooms all over America.
That’s true. What I did was I let anybody who wanted to read a book get a copy. The only catch was they had to forward it to the next person within a week. So when I was pushed to do a book tour I contacted the 400 people who participated in the lending library to see if anyone wanted to host a reading in their home. A lot of times it wasn’t in a person’s living room. Sometimes they wanted to do the reading in a cafe, or a gallery.
Did you hook up a lot when you were on the road?
What kind of question is that? Not really.
Why not read in bookstores?
Well, for one thing I needed to sell my own books to fund the tour. But for another it’s a real relief to have someone in each town, other than me, who will be embarrassed if no one shows up. Reading in people’s homes is a lot more intimate, too. The discussions could go until after midnight. And The Adderall Diaries, the memoir I was reading from, is such a personal book that the readings felt like an extension of the text.
So you didn’t hook up?
I made out with a woman in Ft. Lauderdale. I don’t generally hook up with people when I first meet them. And also, when you’re on the road, I don’t know, it’s kind of awkward. What I long for when I travel isn’t sex, it’s intimacy. I don’t know if you can have intimacy with someone you just met. Why are we talking about this?
You’re interviewing yourself. You know that don’t you?
Yes. I’m sorry.
This is a fiction issue. Do you even write fiction anymore?
I don’t know. I haven’t written much of it recently.
So what are you working on now?
By the time this is published I hope I’ll have a better answer to that question.
You’re a fucking jerk.
No, fuck you.
I hear you share a one bedroom apartment with a couple of hipsters in San Francisco.
That’s true. I think that’s accurate. But it’s a big one-bedroom. When I think of writing I think of a long term commitment to poverty. But I don’t complain. I don’t think a writer, the kind of writer I am, which is to say someone who only writes what he wants to write and doesn’t pitch articles or sell books he hasn’t written yet, is entitled to very much. Basically a small room and health care.
Maybe that’s why you didn’t hook up with anyone on your book tour.
I hooked up with someone on Ft. Lauderdale.
Was she wookin’ p’nub?
Which book is better, Happy Baby or The Adderall Diaries?
I think The Adderall Diaries. But those are my two best books.
What if I told you Jones Inn was my favorite book of yours.
I’d say you were playing devil’s advocate.
When they asked me to interview you I said I didn’t see the point of interviewing a writer. I mean, it’s either on the page or the book is a failure.
I guess I’d agree with that.
But the money was right so I said OK.
They’re paying you?
I’m not sure how long I can go on like this.
Where are you right now?
I’m on a plane, flying from Philadelphia to San Francisco.
I don’t even want to know why you were in Philadelphia. I’ve been in that Godforsaken place. The water on the streets seeping into my shoes. A city famous for cheesesteak (cheese and steak!) and cynical hookers. Hookers like oracles, incapable of lying. Or at least that’s what I thought. I found out otherwise, the hard way. Which is the only way anybody finds out anything. But I was never the same.
It was a stopover from Pittsburgh.
Thank you for doing this interview. I’m sorry you’re having a hard time with things.
But hopefully things will turn around. Remember, it’s not about finding someone to love you, it’s about being capable of love. You need to forget her. That wasn’t love, that was passion. And it was destructive.
Look for the common denominator in your troubles. And by that I mean look at yourself.
This is really going downhill.
You haven’t seen anything yet. Wait until you’re my age.
I am your age.