Fifth Avenue and 21st Street

March 2000



Wrong Mountain

Early last month, I had dinner with my friend Levi Asher, whose Queensboro Ballads was one of the first fiction sites. I mentioned that I felt relatively uninspired as of late - there was nothing I really wanted to write about. Levi suggested that I draw from an ancedote I'd told him about a romance of mine that had recently ended.

I rarely draw directly from life. First of all, it's cruel to the other people involved, who don't get to have their say about events that may reflect poorly on them.

Secondly, it bores me. For me, half the fun in writing is constructing a story, fitting it together so the characters make sense and express an idea I'm burning to relate. It's like building a model ship. Something that comes already constructed, like a real-life story, isn't very interesting at all.

But my friends are always telling me to write more stories based on the amusing ancedotes I tell them. I guess that's a compliment, although the truth is that they already know the main character. But my literary self-confidence is so low after the past year's events that I'm basically willing to listen to anything.

Thus this month's new story, The Broken Hearts of Viola Chang. (Levi and I went to Carnegie Hall after the dinner, and there was an arresting-looking Chinese girl in the back row of the string section.)

It's a funny just wasn't much fun to write. And I feel bad for Yitzhak, even though of course that's not his real name.

New Cityscapes for 5 George Washingtons

Tom Lauricella, an old colleague from my Dow Jones days who has followed this site for years, mentioned last month that he liked some of the cityscapes I've been doing to accompany 5 George Washingtons, so I did a few more from photographs during my recent trip to Copenhagen. Chapters 3, 7, and 8 now have boast new cityscape drawings.

I can never decide whether or not to completely abandon the Washingtons, so I keep monkeying about with it without writing any more. I need to make a decision on this soon.