I gave her some generic encouragement, because I'd seen her stuff and liked it a lot. Hang in there, I said, which is something my friends have often said to me. Something good will happen. And sure enough - two weeks later she got a contract with the Bay! And other work started to pour in. Now she designs housewares for Lord and Taylor in NYC, among other successes. She's hilarious and vibrant and a lot of fun. And her flat was just featured in "Covet Garden." That's her cheery living room, above. I have one of her "Room of One's Own" Penguin posters, and covet the scissors. I introduced myself to a friend of hers over the bread and cheese, we started to talk, and instantly, the way women do, we were down and dirty, into divorce, husbands, children, despair. I mean literally, two minutes, right into the thick of it. Love that.
Then walked a bit in the 'hood - all the hipsters in their skinny jeans and parkas and boots and floppy hats, unisex - a guy saying to his girl, "I do NOT have male pattern baldness!" I went into the Drake Hotel General Store, but it was so ironic, it made my teeth hurt. A coffee mug with "Good morning, asshole" written on it - stuff like that. Then, row upon row of interesting shops, including a knitting collective and a charcuterie store. Imagine, in Toronto, stores specializing in the best charcuterie and tea and cheese and bread and all good things. Why bother to go to Paris?
As for my travails with the memoir, read this interview with Greg Hollingshead, who wrote a novel twice and still abandoned it, about reaching the end of the line: