Strip Bars, Sex Workers, Here and Then and There

My novel CURRENCY is about a Thai man and American woman who have a hard time unraveling their genuine connection from sticky assumptions about money, gender, sex, and nationality. The book is set in Thailand, where the sex industry informs the way foreign and local men and women look at each other, but the protagonist is affected, too, by her dating experiences in the…

Acknowledging

I just sent the copyedited manuscript of CURRENCY to Gina, my editor. The next time I see the novel, it will be in galleys, manuscript no more. It’s been twelve years since I workshopped the experiment in voice that became the first chapter of the novel. I was 28 years old then, and I smoked cigarettes blithely in the apartment where Mark and I…

Similarities between shoestring travel and life with a newborn

1. There are the similar physical humiliations— the diarrhea or leaking breasts, the forced doing of once unthinkable things, begging a bus driver to stop so you can relieving yourself in the weeds, baring your breast to nurse in a crowded subway train. 2. There’s the same dependence on a bible, The Lonely Planet, or Dr. Sears Baby Book or Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy…

Letter to Sari

For a chunk of my 20s, my focus was on traveling. If I wasn’t on the move, I was dreaming or writing about traveling. My mode was shoestring, solo. I was chasing the drug of discombobulation and the scrambled-for view, the circumstances where just getting to the post-office could be an eye-popping adventure made possible only by staggering vicissitudes. (You lost your bearings in…