Dear readers! I am still greatly chagrined about having to miss not only the Chicago reading but also the visit to Redlands University, where I had been enormously looking forward to meeting Alisa Slaughter, Joy Manesiotis (author of a very beautiful and apropos poem about lamenting women), and their students, whom I thank for their interest in The Possessed, and whom I very much hope to meet at some point in the future.
In the meantime, tolerant readers, you may or may not be filled with admiration to learn that I was able to spare a moment from my rigorous program of swamp-related activity in order to deliver a 200-word opinion on the future of evolutionary-psychological literary criticism, for which purpose I temporarily assumed the form of a miniscule talking head:
The original of that tiny photograph was taken by super-chef Musa Dağdeviren and, in its uncropped version, shows me holding a bunch of greens known in Turkish as “snake’s pillow” or “heathen’s beet.”
I write about my encounter with this interesting vegetable in a profile of Musa, which will appear in next week’s New Yorker. They ended up making a lot of cuts, so I’m posting an unexpurgated version of the heathen’s beet incident.
On the subject of the New Yorker piece, I would also like to thank super-journalists Wesley Yang and Suzy Hansen, because Suzy was the one who told Wesley that we should check out Musa’s restaurant, and Wesley was the one who made me go there with him.
I actually tried to mention Mr. Yang by name in the article, but it got cut, along with more than half of the other things I tried to mention in the article. (I, a tireless graphomaniac, wrote 11,000 words, of which 5,200 will be published). Yang was, however, contacted by the super-scrupulous fact-checkers, whom he informed that the single quote attributed, in the final version, to my unnamed “friend”—”it might be heavy cream”—should actually have been: “it might be whipped cream.” Yang and I subsequently had a productive discussion on this important distinction:
Me: Isn’t whipped cream made with heavy cream?
Yang: Yes. But then they whip it.
But OK, dear readers, I had better get back to the dredging and sluicing. The swamp keeps piling up, especially since my entire staff was knocked out last week by what turned out to be a hairball problem, now happily resolved. I think I was working them too hard, and not taking the time to listen to their opinions on the pressing literary issues of our day.