“But… he was the kind of man I wanted to be,” I said yesterday morning, my first bewildered thought after hearing the news that Anthony Bourdain had killed himself.

What I meant was: he was the kind of man I most admire, a mirror I hold up to myself and others, the kind of human I want to be. Restless, sweary, not always very nice, but ultimately soulful, curious, hungry, and real. I turned to him when I didn’t know what to watch. I trusted his taste when I didn’t know what to think. He had the best job in the world — and probably the loneliest. He was, I write with special irony, my answer to the question: “If you could have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?”

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The Way I Tell It


It’s been too long, reader.

I could blame the usual suspects. I’ve worked hard, traveled often, changed friends, changed apartments, seen a little turmoil and a lot of joy since we last spoke. But none of these factors alone can say why I’ve stopped writing here. The truth: Every time I change, this blog has to find a new voice. And I have changed so dramatically so often in the past year that my voice can hardly keep up with it.

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On Self-Respect

You’ve got you. That’s it. Everything else is extra.

About a year ago I kept repeating this to myself, a mantra of sorts. I was having quite a hard time of things then — I was suddenly very sick and dealing with it alone and couldn’t understand why. You’ve got you. That’s it. Everything else is extra. I repeated it to myself a year before that, on the resigned end of a blazing love affair, and even some months before that, when my grandmother passed.

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Wild One

To say that I have been reckless would be a bit of an understatement.

The revelations of the past few months — even of the past month — have inspired an elaborate wildness in me that the witnesses of my life are not quite accustomed to. You’re only young once, being the worried wisdom I’ve hung my hat on. Once, if you’re lucky.

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The Boys of My Youth

These gifts then, that I have sent? You don’t need them, of course. They are for the rest of us, to see what you make of them. For me. For us.


I remember him on a night like this but warmer, the moon shimmying down the black lake. He drinks and wanders from room to room. The blanket is on the floor, breathing softly. Men in exile owe so many letters. Now he is weeping – improbable. Every night around this time I put on desire like an old coat. I wonder from room to room.

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Not to dwell

My response to turbulence in airplanes disturbs other passengers.

It’s not what you probably think. I don’t go white-knuckled or green-faced or breathless or limp. I don’t jabber or skulk or pray. The opposite, really—though my response may be born of the same awe. When I see from my window the tremoring of wing tips, when I hear the rattling of loose luggage overhead, I laugh. The more violent the tremor, the louder the rattle, the harder I laugh. Come now, I think. Is that all you’ve got?

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Hungry Heart

Keep it simple, someone said to me today.

Good advice. Old. I’ve been struggling with this. I prayed this week, of all things. I prayed that if I don’t possess the bandwidth, the strength, to do it all, please make it clear to me, please help me (make me) trim the fat out of my life. Nothing has become clear to me. I am even mixing my metaphors.

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I come from a place in California that has been criticized for having no history.

It’s as if the story began there with the houses, the suburbs, the sprawl. I grew up in the last district of the San Fernando Valley to suburbanize. Porter Ranch sits on the very edge of what, for many Los Angelinos, passes for the wild. New settlements are still being built, gauche gated communities of potted palms and Spanish tile roofs, rows and rows of the same house lining up like so many school children.

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