Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How many more writers do we need writing about getting plastered?


Answer: As many as have good stories to tell. My personal favorite addiction tale from the last ten years is the second volume in the Patrick Melrose series,by Edward St. Aubyn. Don't let the name put you off, my fellow Americans. E St. A. gets down and funky in New York chasin' that train. No idea how autobiographical the story of a desperate junkie (wait: Is there any other kind?)is,though clearly, E St. A. has been pretty close up and personal. The reason I love this series (and especially, Volume II) so much is because the humor is wicked and relentless. Yes, it's English cerebral, but the guy is funny. I had already written the nut of "Cleans Up Nicely" when I read E. St. A. and I went back into the mss., sliced as much lugubrious fat out as I could and sifted in more of my wayward take on reality. Really grateful to him for reminding me of the Puck who's always waiting in the wings. Conclusion? Addiction, we already know, is painful, nasty, bad bad bad. Those of us who are lucky to survive have a high tolerance for the ridiculous. Visit an open A.A. meeting and watch people holding their sides as they listen to the pratfalls.

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About my latest book, a novel, "Gringa in a Strange Land." Set in Mexico in the early '70's, a(n American) female on-the-road adventure, a coming of age tale, but also a kind of love letter to southern Mexico, especially the Yucatan, during the tempestuous counterculture and - many of us thought - the edge of a new era throwing off repression, war and dictatorship (man, were we wrong.)