Magazines sometimes have parties when they make a new issue. Why shouldn’t we? Why shouldn’t we have one in Los Angeles and escape from the frozen urinal that is New York City?
That was the thinking that landed us at the POT Lobby Bar in the newly-opened The Line Hotel in LA Koreatown last week . Kogi did tacos. Dorien Garry and Sun Araw played records. (I really liked how Dorie worked Future Games into her set!) Roy Choi and his pastry chef Marian Mar sprung a Chang-as-Hello- Kitty cake on us.
Most of the post party talk was about the superiority of Los Angeles and our collective desire to move there. Definitely more and bigger Lucky Peach LA parties on the way.
that cake! & “the superiority of Los Angeles” are only two of the reasons this party was such a great party
(also I feel like I hijacked Emily’s post there, and what I meant to say was: Emily’s essay is really great, and her book is really great, and I am extravagantly biased because I like both her and her editor a great deal but you should still trust me on this one and read both.)
Writing this was hard. I was very lucky to be edited by Chad Harbach, who spent many months (6? I forget. Possibly more) working on it with me. My writing group — Bennett, Anya and Lukas — also read several drafts and helped a lot. I would like to dedicate its appearance on the internet to the memory of Raffles, who cost me a lot of money but was worth every penny. I still miss you, buddy.
Yesterday I gave up/wised up and moved all the tabs for agents I’m trying to pitch this book to into their own separate window, where they live, now, instead of clogging up the one full of things to read and recipes to try, in which I only ever check Gmail/Tumblr/Facebook, onetwothree forever. When I hover my mouse over the minimized icon at the bottom of my screen, the thing that pops up says “How to Submit.”
I had sort of always meant to write a book, because when you love books you want to write one, and because when you write other things people are forever asking you if or when you are going to write a book, as if this was the obvious end of being able to write nice sentences or essays or bits of journalism, the book as diploma or certificate of achievement, or something.
But I also didn’t mean to do it, because I didn’t think I could. Not like, actually. And then a bunch of things happened at once, some very practical (quitting my job / not having to pay rent), and some less so (my sudden ability to finish stories, a thing I had basically never accomplished prior to this novel draft). And now I have this thing, and probably it’s terrible but also I’m proud of it. I keep wanting to qualify that with “I guess,” but I already admitted that I’m trying to sell it, so. That gives away the game. Obviously whatever I tell myself, I do think that it’s good, or good enough.
Anyway. How to submit. I worked for an agent reading slush years ago now; I just found the email I sent to my replacement when she took over the position. It contains the phrase “the password is rejection.” Some really lovely people have read this novel, this draft of this book-length thing, anyway, and they have written me really lovely rejections. They like it, too, but they don’t want to be responsible for it. They have not fallen in love with it. There’s just nothing I can do about that. I have to give in to the truth of it; I have to keep trying anyway.
Everyone says it’s like dating, but fuck, man, I don’t want to be dating either. I hate dating. I like people but I hate strangers. It’s no coincidence that I’ve fallen in love only twice, with people I had known for years and years before we got involved like that.
It’s like everything, really. You write something or make something or are something. You try to make it good, and be proud of it, and to pretend that it’s enough that you are. Sometimes it is. I’ll be honest, though: right now it’s really not.
Not five minutes after I posted that link to Facebook, a guy I vaguely know from approx. nine years ago responded to say a) that the piece was long and he’d only skimmed it but that b) he was still a Game of Thrones fan and that c) the piece wasn’t really for him anyway so that was fine