I was raised in a shotgun shack in the Mississippi Delta. My parents moved there from Greenwich Village to save me from the suffocating hipsterdom that was then called “yuppiedom.” They wanted me to live life in the real world, the deep south, the land of Faulkner and Hurston and O’Connor and Brown and Capote, a land where I could breathe deeply.
That dream lasted until it was time for me to start kindergarten, and they had to confront the reality of the Louisiana school system. Then it was straight back to hipsterdom—Seattle, no less.
In Seattle, I learned how to craft a sentence, cup an espresso, and ride a skateboard. I was in half a dozen bands, in all of which my main instrument was the photocopier. I was the PR bitch, the scrawny kid who’d hike up and down every hill in Washington State for a chance to stand onstage in a trashcan while a neo-Brechtian grunge tried to pretend they weren’t shamelessly aping Mother Love Bone.
I lucked my way into Yale with the help of a good SAT score and an ex-girlfriend of my dad’s who worked in the admissions office. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I went off to Connecticut and—like most Yale students—considered myself very gritty and real for going to college in New Haven instead of Cambridge. I even tried to get mugged, but the worst that ever happened was that the laptop containing the only draft of my novel/thesis was stolen. I had to redraft the entire thing in an all-night Kit Kat binge, and the result was just crazy enough to win me admission to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
I didn’t think I needed them, though. I didn’t subscribe to my parents’ views that the best writing was done face-down in the loam. I now recognize that I should have faked my way through and used the connections to get a book contract, but hindsight is 20/20, or maybe bullshit. So instead I took a meaningless job in investment banking. It amused me and kept me out of trouble and paid really fucking well, and I boned my way through NYC like Patrick Bateman except with rubbers on my cock instead of on my wing-tips.
By my late 20s, I was bored. When I saw the ad for this project, I dredged up my old thesis and sent it in. And now here I am a year later, sitting in the middle of cold grey rural Minnesota with a corpse, a creepster, and a coward in my recent memory. Just like you always dreamed, Mom and Dad: I’m Capote, face down in the loam.