October 15, 2019

Best Revenge

I’ve unsequestered myself with a vengeance. Returning to the city after a two month absence, to a premature spring no less, is like falling in love again. I’ve eaten at some of my favorite places, Babbo and le Bernardin and Il Posto Accanto, as well as Danny Meyer/Floyd Cardozzo’s new place in the financial district, North End Grill. And in the interest of helping others eat a little better I attended Topaz Paige Green’s star studded benefit for the Lunchbox Fund at Del Posto. Topaz knows everybody and she’s a great philanthropist, having created the Lunchbox Fund to fund meals for schoolchildren in her native South Africa. Check out their website.

It’s an interesting experience too, returning to Manhattan in the present after being absorbed in Manhattan 2005 and 2008 for two months, the timeframe for the novel. It’s a different city, the present one. My novel will probably end on election night, 2008 and by coincidence I went to the premiere of Game Change, the HBO Sarah Palin biopic, which I thought was great. Julianne Moore was uncanny inhabiting Palin. And she humanized her in a way I wouldn’t have thought possible. The flick let McCain off extraordinarily easy, painting him as the guy who refused to get involved in negative campaigning. WTF? It wasn’t that long ago, guys, and I seem to remember watching McCain transform from the cool Republican of 2000 into the mean and angry and pandering candidate of ‘08. McCain should love this movie. But it’s a hoot. And Julianne Moore, who was sitting across the aisle from me, is amazing.

Speaking of movies, some troll writing for one of the big financial magazines got absolutely hysterical about my Woody Allen remarks in the last blog. He seems not to have a sense of humor, nor to have noticed that my advice to Woody Allen was posed in a conditional rather than a declarative sentence. As for the charge that I’m a literary poseur, I’m not sure what that means. Maybe he read my 2010 Williams College Commencement address , Faking your Way To Authenticity, in which I proposed that young people shouldn’t feel bad pretending to know more than they did, and creating a persona to try to arm themselves for the hard job of forging a real identity. I proposed that you pretend you know what you’re doing until one day you wake up no longer needing to. I certainly pretended to be a writer. After a Masters Degree in English and ten odd books, I’m still not entirely sure I know what I’m doing. So maybe I’m guilty as charged. Although it seems my greatest sin is writing in a nice house. This very angry commentator posted pictures of our house in Water Mill, which is pretty photogenic. Apparently his idea being that living well is incompatible with the production of literature. I’m pretty sure that’s not the case, but I do know it’s the best revenge.