Friday, May 1, 2009

re-naissance indeed...



I'm back, have been back, have fully reacclimated to the ways of white people, to undercrowding, social order, directional traffic, trash collection, gratuitous appliances, non-organ meats, factory-made whiskey and Blackberrys. My book is done. My teaching job dissolved. My lovelife's solid. And I'm just another blanquito in the crowd. In many ways, it's good to be back; in others, I feel what I'm going to start calling the alienation of familiarity.

Here were some of my observations upon returning home:

New York felt decidedly calm. I could cross the street with no fear of death – even at night (something I had not experienced in some time).

We have too little street food, by a margin of about 9,000 fold. And, please, the hot dog?

White girls are tall.

So-called Green Liberals don't give much thought to the ecology of air travel (and shipping – think imported beer. Buy local cans!).

Snow sucks, as do shoes (after 6 weeks of sandals only, what a falling off). Escaping winter is magnificent.

Work, at least as the editor-at-large of Nerve and the instructor of Writing for Magazines, is rather nice.

A dhoti is just as useful as advertised, and can even double as a shawl.

My son Lars took a while to reintegrate me; that was sad. But then he did, and I wish I could thank him in a way he'd understand.

Ms. Inimitables is a fount of joy.

The Internet – especially the Google machine – is decidedly pleasant, though one can get used to having no information really quickly.

Running water is decadent and should be appreciated as such.

Hot water is almost criminal.

My three-room apartment is a palace. There are plugs everywhere.

My lightbulb to human ratio is the inverse of everyone's in Laos.

It doesn't make sense to have a place where you work and a place where you live (Dave feels this will eventually change in America)

My brother and Hillary now have three children. They gave terzo my initials: Juliet Katherine Murnighan.

I'm itching to conduct another wedding – or at least to baptize Phil when spring comes.

Somehow this blog revolutionized my relationship with my Dad. And for the first time ever, I know he'll read this.


Now that I can't entertain you with the comestation of insect, arachnid, and rodent, I will have to provide other reasons for your visits; these will include a series of regular blog features, updating often (though selon l'humeur d'ecrivain) and all trademarked, including Life's Delightful Bargains, That Which Shouldn't Be Brooked, The Philosopher in the Kitchen, and Interminable Gratuitous Literary Citation (just kidding … I think). Expect at least one new installment of each every week, and I'll do my best to post on this autofellative thing every day the Muses deign to descend.

I also want to launch a little tie-in promo for my book (due out now May 19th, please review it ye media moguls), namely a kind of opt-in book club where I tell you which classic I'm reading and you read along or just take my word for it. First up will be Dostoevsky's The Idiot; after that probably Fitzgerald's Tender Is the Night (if I can stomach it) or Stendahl's Charterhouse of Parma, and then some Mark Twain (I've never read either Tom or Huck, only The Innocents Abroad and that 20 years ago) or Wilde (again but carefully). And an added bonus: if anyone can convince me that Fitzgerald is actually a great writer (not merely good), then I'll let she or he pick one of the next reads. Until then, FSF is officially overrated.

Nice to speak to you all again. As always, i love to hear from you. And if you want to review my book or give me work, my hat's in my hand.


  1. Very glad the blog is back! We have a lot of work to do this weekend...You will soon be a viral pr and guerilla marketing maven.

  2. I too am glad the blog is back. You live in Chinatown so you probably haven't yet noticed another major difference between Asia and NYC - middle aged and elderly women don't wear pajamas in public here. Except, of course, in Chinatown.

    You might think about finding a copy editor. Your niece's name is spelled Juliette. Did you expect anything less from Erik with a K?

  3. Funny. I just started Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. Would you be so kind (when you get a moment) as to send me a signed copy of your new book? I will send you my addy. xoxo wuness.

  4. ha! You spelled your niece's name wrong. so very glad to see you ACTUALLY revived the blog... so those of us stuck home with children on Friday nights have some form of enlightening entertainment.

  5. All I should really say in regard to the first item up on your list is, "Hedgehog" ... Soon you'll understand ... and I hope (here crossing myself with my four-leaf clover) laugh heartily. As for the second, I'd pick Stendhal over Fitz any day.

    P.S. Not that it matters in the least, but meeting Dusty's Myshkin felt like encountering my twin soul. (I even named my pooch after him.) It was the first and probably only time I ever felt truly and deeply Understood. The book radically altered the course of my life ... And I'd be delighted if it touched you even a tenth so much.

    Fare thee well, Murnighan.