The Beautiful Anthology! I’m so pleased to be in this velvety book, exploring one of life’s hot topics alongside writers such as Gina Frangello, Melissa Febos, Greg Olear, Jessica Anya Blau, M. J. Fievre, Angela Tung, and more more more. Check out the trailer, with music by Rich Ferguson.
And buy the book! It’s the only place my essay will live.
I wrote about being struck dumb by encountering a breathtakingly beautiful Thai boy, and at a time when I was de-emphasizing everything feminine about my own appearance. The man I mention in the essay is not the prototype for Piv, the main character in Currency, but the brief relationship I had with him definitely started me thinking about the collision of tourists and tour guides and how cultural position impacts gender roles. Plus, some of the hot bits are set in a hillside opium den. Or, well, it was more like an opium hut, actually, with mounds of garlic to lounge on instead of embroidered silk pillows, but still.
I will admit that before I wrote this essay, I thought that I was completely done with the subject of Thailand. Surely after a novel and promotion for it, and with my last visit there more than ten years in the past, I should move on. But I ended up really getting into telling this real-life story. Okay, I thought after I submitted it. So NOW I’m done.
Except, hmmmm. Speaking of opium dens. Last week I was riveted by a Talk of the Town in The New Yorker about a writer named Steven Martin, a long-time Bangkok hand who was a first a scholar of opium culture and who then became an addict. He still collects the paraphernalia. He has a memoir coming out this week that I can’t wait to get my hands on–Opium Fiend. Seems like it could also be the germ for some fun fiction. Never say never.