August 28th, 2020 / 11:03 am


I HALF THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO KILL MYSELF IN 2018, a few months before the launch of my debut novel. All I ever wanted was to be loved, to feel loved, and to write books. I woke up nearly every day reading and writing for the past ten years and suddenly, in October 2018, I didn’t want that shit anymore, my body could not write, my body was not hungry, I wanted to die and disappear instead. King of Joy was to be published in March 2019 and I wondered if I would be alive in March 2019. 

Clouds move at my favorite speeds. Walking up hills makes me dream and want to live again. I burn my knees walking everywhere. No matter how I feel about nature, no matter how much in love I am, my face stays the same, my swagger endless monotone. There is a part of me that will always want to call you, Baby. I turn everything that has nearly killed me into entertainment. I put all my eggs in one basket and I smash the basket.

I am walking down some street in Los Angeles and I can see the Hollywood sign. I am here for Brad Listi and his podcast. Aloe Vera plants, palm trees, cracked sidewalks: all of this, I remember, is my shit. I hate it so much here. It is Friday, March 15th, and I am blitzed out of my skull. I smoke fatty, I smoke fatty, I smoke fatty. I can see Brad and Twiggy on the front steps of his house and I have an out-of-body experience; it’s as though the sky around my face clouds and watches me like a camera. I have barely slept, I miss New York, I miss Seattle, and my body moves like a ghost from room to room, following Brad Listi into his incandescent pool house.

In the interview, I feel enlightened as hell. I say something like, “If I had a choice of writing ten books and killing myself versus writing four books and living a happy life, I would hope to choose the latter.”

You have to know that rest is writing, too. Finding love is writing, too. Doing fucking nothing is writing, too.

Brad has a handsome face. I can feel his whole life from the careful way he walks through his house, and I can tell he is a kind man. Cars nearly run me over. The sun is gorgeous. I leave Los Angeles the fuck behind. 

There is a calm to the world, a drop in the ocean. I have to pull it out of me like a sword in a stone, like a knife in the abdomen, like a very good reminder. I attempt my life. My friends love me. I came here, like a reckoner, to belong in your room. I have so much more to say.


  1. Alec Niedenthal

      Enjoyed this. I identify with the sense of exhaustion. I remember Carole Maso once told me that she writes even on the days she doesn’t write.

      I also liked “following Brad Listi into his incandescent pool house” a lot.

  2. Ken Baumann

      I’ve been where you are, or if not where you are, nearby. I’m glad you chose to stay.

  3. Edward Cone

      I do feel you. For me, I woke up one day and realized I didn’t have to kill myself to kill myself, because writing, especially writing fiction, whatever that really is anymore, is at the very least the slow suicide of former selves.

  4. sarah jean alexander

      hel yeah richard