I accept my delusion. I am not actually smarter than my Ivy League classmates in this summer's "Writers in New York" Creative Writing Program at NYU.
I have just lived longer. I am also slightly older than my two teachers, but, let's just keep that one on the "down low." I have traveled many miles and spent thousands of dollars to thwart an impending midlife crisis by returning to academia and resurrecting my childhood dream - to be a writer - that is.
So I tell Jay McInerney, one of my "contemporaries," at the taping of the radio show "Selected Shorts," up, up on the Upper West side, that I had to explain his novel "Bright Lights, Big City" to my much younger classmates earlier in the day. To this news, he frowns. Pretty blue eyes accustomed to being the size of saucers, twitch, and he furrows his brow. No Botox, I assess.
Glistening under the stage lights I notice gelled, curly, salty dark brown hair(thick) and "occasional" reading glasses. He wears dark denim jeans,a bit baggy, and Italian, herringbone sport coat and shiny black cowboy boots. A custom, ornate, "Investment" leather belt completes the ensemble, with a saggy, heavy, masculine silver clasp, I imagine he has owned for many years.
"They didn't even know who you were," I begin, "couldn't pronounce your name correctly." I finish.
"What's the point of guest starring on TV's "Gossip Girl?" Jay mumbles to himself.
"This new development deal - for the new movie version of "Bright Lights, Big City" - yeah - that - sounds great" I impressively, quickly think to say and push, violently, out of my extra sticky pink lip gloss stained lips, hoping to comfort him.
"Jay," I begin again "I personally wan't offended by your wedding announcement in the New York Times Style section, years ago. I love to see announcements of third and fourth marriages; especially writers who marry publishing heiresses, especially with photos."
"I like you Jay, REALLY," I plead, "as a fictional character, you know, like in Brett Easton Ellis's "Lunar Park?"
I don't like where this is going, Jay signals by the high count of wrinkles on his tanned forehead. St. Barts, I'm assuming. No, its summer. That's a no-no season for St. Barts.
"Lunar Park is one of my favorite books!" I gush.
"You and Bret Easton Ellis, you're not like COMPETITIVE, are you?" I'm just going to throw it out there.
"I spent twenty-five hard earned dollars on you novel "X" fifteen years ago. Back in the day when I used electrical tape to extend the life of my combat boots. Barnes and Noble didn't even give discounts back then. How much you think that piece of shit would be worth today. Thirty dollars maybe? I could really use that money right now, Jay. I have been sleeping on a love seat in the East Village, Jay. Look at me, Jay, I'm five foot nine, five foot nine!"
"There's a one eared black cat living in the apartment with me, Jay. And he drinks from my glass when I'm not looking."
"Can I sleep on your couch while I'm at NYU? I bet Bret Easton Ellis would let me sleep on his couch." I ask.
"I'm thirty-nine and never been published. Can you believe it? It's bullshit. Like when they tell you your vagina will return back to normal after childbirth, that kind of bullshit. Like your novel "X" bullshit."
"I keep your bullshit novel "X" on my bookshelf at home, front and center, so I can see it and clearly be reminded NOT to write bullshit. It has been very helpful to me, you know, Jay, as a writer? Thank you again for that bullshit novel "X."
"The hug," I ask, "with the actor, who read your piece onstage, "that was awkward for you, right, Jay?"
"I like how you patted him on the back. Like at the Racquet Club?" I continue.
Jay McInerney is not the type of man to hug other men.
"I bet Bret Easton Ellis has no issue hugging other men," I add, "In fact, he may even sleep with some." I continue.
"I went out to dinner with your old fact checker at The New Yorker last night, oh the stories, Jay, the stories!"
"You really wrote that piece for the Paris Review in one night? The first piece you ever published, one single night? Come on, Jay, really?"
Jay looks puzzled and caught off guard.
"In front of a jury of your peers, like me? In front of Bret Easton Ellis? And George Plimpton's ghost?"
"I bet Bret Easton Ellis could write a whole novel in a single night," I say, " Have you ever read that novel, Jay? Lunar Park? I know you're in it, but still, do you read?"
"Bret Easton Ellis, Jay, Bret Easton Ellis. Goddamn second coming that one. A goddamn genius he is!"
I look into Jay's soft cover book of short stories, that I have reluctantly purchased, and he so generously autographs.
Inside it reads: "Cat, you will get published one day. Persevere! Jay McInerney"
"Thank you." I say and smile, starting to walk back to my seat in the theater. Jay makes sure to say goodbye to me first shouting "Cat!" before I turn my head to look at him across the crowd, standing behind the sales table staring at me. I turn my entire body, fully round, around, raising my hand to excitedly wave goodbye to this writer - published, famous, an important pop culture page to my generation - a double vodka tonic dangling in my hand, which silently spills all over by bare chest, seeping down my black, age appropriate, dress.
A Pool Hustler's Daughter grows up in subterranean America. She dreams big, hustles daily and loves her Daddy. With empathy, fascination and grace she navigates and inhabits every tier of society; sees beauty and hope and magic in all things; respects and lives by the "mitzvah."
A Pool Hustler's Daughter calculates the trifecta payout at the racetrack, hides money on three parts of her body, has an arsenal of "Uncles," and keeps a baseball bat by the front door. She values friendship, loyalty and experiences over "things." Like her father, she seeks to learn "The secrets of the universe" and believes "Life ain't on the square." She applauds the self-made and those who learn to "overcome" their circumstances. Her door is always open for a sofa to sleep on, a hot meal, or an eager listener for a life story.