The final pass of my second book arrived in the mail yesterday, in a crinkled and oversized manilla envelope that I swung back and forth on the way to my car. It’s been stiflingly hot in Santa Monica, in the high eighties every day, and I’ve gotten accustomed to not doing my hair, to sweating in weird places, to taking two quick showers a day.
The lead up to this book is, in every single way, different than that of my first. We’re still ten months out, still a long long ways away, but I feel a pressure on this book that I didn’t feel on Half Life. You have to live up to expectations! I would tell this almost-totally-done manuscript, if I could mash it into human form and bring it out to dinner. You have to exceed! You have to excel! You have to be really fucking good, OK?
Different in other ways: I remember writing my first book. I remember ten hours of work in a row, breaking for coffee and food, Milo sleeping on the back of my grey armchair. I remember the thrill of literary agents answering my emails, I remember the phone call in a Michaels in Valencia from the fierce lady who would eventually be so important to me. I remember the kitchen floor where I sank to my knees thinking damn, this moment is just like a movie, when she told me that they wanted it and that they wanted another one, too, OK, can you do that?
It took me a while to write The Lost & Found. It took moving across the country and quitting a terrible job. It took car accidents and fainting spells and hospital visits and heatwaves and true love and true heartbreak and everything in between. But when I look back on the actual writing of it, the actual pen-to-paper job of getting each word down, I draw a huge and total blank.
When did I write this book?
OK, summer of 2014. A three month period of almost solitary confinement. A shitty moment in time marked by this huge thing emerging from the tail end of it. A book! I wrote a book! But the thing is… I can’t really remember doing it.
I have one image only: of me sitting in my bed in the early morning (or maybe afternoon? Or maybe night?) with my laptop and a cup of coffee (or water? Or wine?). And writing.
Because of that lapse in memory, maybe, the creation of The Lost & Found can’t help but feel a little mysterious. And that’s fitting, I think, because the book itself is a little mysterious. There’s a teensy bit of magic. There’s a too-big coincidence. There are things that don’t quite fit.
Ten months to go, sheesh, but I think, when it’s time, you’re really gonna like this one.