A few days ago, the book went on sale in shops and now there’s a launch party coming up and I gotta say, this is no small thing for me. Not because it’s some great book or anything—you be the judge—but Jesus, the saga, the fucking trilogy it took to get here. I used to just blasé my way through shit like this, but not any more. It’s time to stop and realize a little, take some stock. Because that’s what happens when you get older. You give a milestone its due. It’s the upside of ageing and mortality, the flipside of all the crow’s feet and hangovers.
It started a whole lifetime ago, this book. Two lifetimes, maybe three. Between the writing and the Kindle download I’ve moved five times and been around the world like Lisa Stansfield. I had jobs, I wore suits. I fucked my ankle and my back and let’s not even go into the other wounds, the internal bleeding. But that’s what happens when you move your life to Bombay and get stabbed in the back and kicked in the teeth, only to return to LA, then back to India, Delhi this time, then over to Connecticut and back to LA again. My life was turned upside itself and over again. I was in a tumble dryer that was trapped in a barrel and tossed out to sea. And everywhere I went I had this book in my suitcase.
I remember when, in the bowels of the 2009 depression, my book caught a sniper’s bullet out of the clear blue sky. It started out an ordinary enough day when this giggling goomah went out on a date with her wiseguy, her Moltisanti, but then someone shot her in the head before dessert. Picture a dead orphan on the side of the road. I’m not even going to lie about the buckets of weeping. Think about Delhi in the monsoon and all the filth and wailing and gnashing. You can bring the entire string section in for this bit, tell the director to go montage, slo-mo, close up, all that. Fetch the Kleenex, we’re going to be here a while.
But when it’s done, can you hear Jimmy Cliff? Wonderful world, beautiful people. It’s a new dawn. You know what happens next. You know the Lazarus story.
David Foster Wallace said something about how our lives are so governed by connections and encounters that we neither control, understand nor even know, that it’s near impossible not to wonder about a higher power or force at play. I’m not going to argue. I still don’t understand how or why the defibrillators came out and went BAM! but they did. And like a miracle, the orphan’s up again with a new agent and a new publisher. For a whole year, it gimped around the track, all battered and heroic like the person who comes last in the marathon, the person who really ought to win the prize. (Why reward speed when you could reward suffering? Life isn’t about speed).
Then a strange thing happened. As it scraped around that last bend into the home strait, Secrets & Wives suddenly straightened out like Keyser Soze and marched to the finish line. Today, you you can Kindle it, or Nook it, or iBook it or just plain ship the shit out of it. And it can be found in all corners—my mate Bryan Malone got his copy and he’s in New Zealand.
So come to the launch and raise a glass with me. It’ll be a lovely summer’s evening in Los Feliz. I’m going through all that pre-natal anxiety – ‘what if no one shows up and the microphone doesn’t work and my pants fall down and everyone laughs?’ But these are wisp clouds, they will pass.
What matters is the ritual. To give a milestone its due. I gave birth to a word-baby, 352 pages, which must be presented to the world and set it on its way. It’s the way things should be. God knows, it’s been a long time coming. I talk about the gestation period and blue whales spit out their plankton: “Three years! Sister you crazy! Nuh-uh! Oh hayle no!” (That’s how blue whales talk).
See you there.