After growing up in New York City from age 12, companion to prospector, gangster, and trust fund baby, I left New York in late 2002 for a year in New Zealand.
That year became eight that ended with me married and living in an outback town of 500 in the flung out Western Australia desert. (I hear you’re building your little house out in the desert.. you’re living for nothing now… I hope you’re keeping some kind of record” — Leonard Cohen).
One day in the outback, I met a “roo hunter” who shot kangaroos from rifles in his truck. I remember particularly disliking him, and when he left the building in which I worked, I asked others about his attitude. He had, I was told, served time for shooting his first wife dead.
I tell you this because the best advice I have ever received was Trust Your Instincts. It is also what much of my work is about — fighting against denial, traps, lies, falsehood, and most of all deceitfulness and suavity.
As of this year, I live as far from New York City as possible, while still living in New York.
The holy spirit does not baptize by water but by fire — as I read in a Bible I picked up on my baptism at age 28, and I continue to be on fire most of the time.
Some Book Faves:
Regarding literature, I very much like German literature, (Boll, Frisch, Sebald) and early Greek (the playwrights) because both express extreme pain with great brevity.
In New Zealand, Alice Tawhai knocks us all out of the water, and Dame Fiona Kidman.
Wake in Fright by Mr Cook is the book that best describes life in the outback best for me. Also, probably, my own piece on it in Tin House.
Some favorite books are Briar Rose (Coover), Jump Soul by Charlie Smith and more recently those by Moshfegh and Locascio. The new vulgarity and sometimes depravity in young women’s work disturbs and at times revolts me, but when the writing works, I meet the challenge.
I also favor contemporary American poetry: I want to make things as bright as possible for you — that kind of thing. I am a reader of poetry for Tin House.