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I believe in artichokes

Italy did ruin me. After that first trip I came back disgusted by bodega coffee, which now smelled of old socks. Before, it was just fine. I rolled my eyes at red sauce joints, detouring old standbys like a stranger. If eating can be seen as a religious or spiritual experience I had been to the mountain. In time I would return on pilgrimages, always holding the simple pleasures in my thoughts.  An artichoke, methodically fried in good olive oil, with some salt. Black truffles, good butter and fresh pasta twisting around the back of a fork. A very cold and tiny glass of porto bianco sipped in a Genoa bar, with my friend Federico. A man cleaning sardines on a block of wood in the street. A woman selling green figs that she wraps into a newspaper cone. I have thousands of these memories, these artifacts. But I live in Moscow, where there has been an embargo for years now, and there is no population that expects perfect mounds of fresh cheese. They ship powdered palm oil here, that gets …

things you think of when traveling


I would like to fall asleep listening to rain. I would like to have a great Thai takeout place to walk to. I would like to be 20 pounds lighter. I would like to be able to play a good B chord. I would like a pair of orange wingtips. Sometimes I would like to have wild locks of hair like I used to. Sometimes I think about how long it takes me to write a book, and if there is any way around that. Sometimes I forget to close the refrigerator. Sometimes I think about this electronics department in a local store I used to visit when I was a boy, staring at the cassette decks and the turntables. Sometimes I think about deer season and the dead animals tied to roofs and hoods with twists of rope, their expressions stiff all looking terrified.

I have a good watch now. I have a new guitar. I have work. I have a new striped sweater that looks like one of N's and I made her laugh when I wore it for the first time. I bought E a film camera for her birthday and she named it Marv. I bought V a Moana doll and she talks to it, as if is real.







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