Monday, May 22, 2017

Sling bag

I just received a phone call from the writer Luke Goebel. Although I have never spoken with Luke via phone - and I'm pretty bad at phone calls in general - this particular call came just seconds after I'd received my new "sling bag" in the mail from Urban Outfitters, and I was so excited to talk to anyone about it! I'm sure many of you don't know it yet, but you are living in the midst of a fashion craze known as the "sling bag," which I saw online last week and was immediately fascinated by. I immediately launched into a conversation with Luke about the beauty of my newest fashion purchase, and I spoke for about a minute before I realized that Luke's phone had actually pocket-dialed me. I wish I had taped that conversation. What did I say in that minute-long monologue? Sometimes I can describe a fashion item so minutely that I sound like a marketing department, but what could I actually have said about a "sling bag" anyway? It's really just a fanny-pack that one is expected to wear over one shoulder. My words about it already escape me. Then I have to admit I tried to eavesdrop on what Luke was doing, but he almost immediately started hacking and coughing dramatically and at that point I discreetly put the phone down.

I was so excited to meet Luke last week at a party for Granta! I loved his book FOURTEEN STORIES, NONE OF THEM ARE YOURS so much, and I actually tried (in vain) to get my overlords at HarperCollins to sign him up way back when. He was there at the party with the writer Ottessa Moshfegh, and I was trying to stir that dormant part of my brain that contains the name of every literary writer currently alive in America, and the names of their key work. That part of my brain failed me that night, but after I went online later, I remembered that she got a lot of attention a couple of years ago for a book called EILEEN that I bought then and now must read. I wondered briefly if Luke and Ottessa are dating, but horrible things tend to happen whenever I express any kind of curiosity at all about the personal lives of people I know through the publishing industry. Still, in a different part of my mind, there is a complex literary chess game of trysts, allegiances, and ancient enmities that rivals the fictional worlds of George R. R. Martin, and in that part of my mind, Luke's and Ottessa's chess pieces were adjusted slightly.

Anyway, back to the sling bag! In this picture, I have filled it with the various items I carry with me at all times during the day. An umbrella, extra contact lenses, a pen, stevia, my headphones, a single condom and a bottle of Cialis (in case I meet someone!), candy, Alka Seltzer, a charger, and a horrible, horrible - but lately, horribly necessary - product called a Preparation H "Totable." The bag almost wasn't big enough!

I feel like I should be writing now that I'm living in Los Angeles, and seeing other writers (and other publishing industry compatriots like Tyson from Rare Bird) at parties reminds me of that fact. Okay, so I wrote this blog post. Maybe I'll try to do that more often, and maybe I'll write something else, too. Anyway, I'm off to show off my new bag. How should I wear it? To the front, as Urban Outfitters would have me wear it? Or to the back, where it will make me look even more like a hunchback? Or just around the waist, as it clearly is just a fanny-pack repurposed by Herschel's marketing department into the current craze it is, or that I have been fooled into believing it is. I'm not certain, but in any case, sales at are up.

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