The week my editor first contacted me about writing a book was the same week Donald Trump announced he was running for president. It was June, 2015.
I had a friend whose father died of cancer the week the hostages were released from Iran. It was 1981.
Whenever anybody mentions the hostages being released from Iran, she thinks of her father dying.
Three weeks after my father died, Princess Diana was killed in a car accident. It was 1997.
Whenever anybody mentions Princess Diana dying, I think of my father.
After I got the call that day, I went to my parents’ house in Santa Monica with my friend whose father died of cancer when the hostages were released from Iran. We stopped in the McDonald’s on Colorado and 2nd. I will never go into that McDonald’s again because it reminds me of the day my father died. (And because it’s gross.)
The day I turned 10 years sober, John Kennedy Jr. died in a plane crash.
John John. My mother would call my brother that sometimes.
When I think of having 10 years, I think of JFK Jr. dying.
Whenever anybody mentions JFK, Jr. dying I think of having 10 years.
I used to date a bartender who worked in a little restaurant in Brentwood called Mezzaluna. Then OJ Simpson killed his friend and he had to testify at the trial.
Whenever anybody mentions about OJ Simpson, I think of Stuart.
Shamus Mcdog chewed up a lot of things in my house. The coffee table. A chair. Door jambs—those were his favorite. I’m pretty sure he was trying to chew his way out to find me when I would be gone.
When I see the remnants of his chewing rampages around my house I think of Shamus McDog.
When Ronald Reagan got elected the first time, he held a speech at the Century Plaza Hotel. It was right up the street from my house growing up. My brother and I went up there, walked right in and watched him give his speech. It was the tail end of 1980. I was 14. John was 17.
That would never happen today.
Whenever anybody talks about Ronald Reagan getting elected the first time, I think of that.
When Bill Clinton got elected the first time, I was living in San Francisco. It was 1992. The entire city erupted with elation. Major rejoicing. Horns honking. Papers and things flying out windows. After 12 years, the republicans were OUT.
God I love that city.
Whenever anybody mentions Bill Clinton getting elected the first time, I think of that.
My book is due right before the election in November.
Years from now, whenever I think of writing this book, I will think of Donald Trump.
I’m sure the circus that is this election will make a better memory than all the stress and tears and frustration and metaphorical puke that is the writing process. If it’s true the human brain is cunningly selective when it comes to memory, I might even look back at the time I’ve spent on this couch typing my guts out with fondness.
I’ll forget the obsessing on every word.
I’ll forget feeling like I have no idea what I’m doing.
I’ll forget yesterday, when I was crying with my friend Gretchen because I was talking about my parents dying. (I’m a little sensitive lately.) And the week before, when I with my brother on Balboa Island, begging him for brotherly advice because he’s a writer, and a beautiful one, and he knows me and I was saying please, John, tell me how to get past this fear because it’s not cool while we were standing within 100 yards of where we spread our parent’s ashes and eating ice cream.
“I wish my parents could see this,” I told my friend Catia the day I signed my book contract.
“Are you kidding? They probably made it happen,” she said.
I’ll sit here writing until November.
In the spring of next year, my book will come out.
Someone will mention the Donald Trump campaign for presidency.
I’ll remember writing.
And maybe I’ll think, man, what a breezy time.