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I felt at the time, "That can't be it." It didn't ring true to my ears. It was only later, when Christopher and I became a couple, that I understood for the first time in my life what therapists had been saying, what I'd read in magazines and heard spoken about on TV talk shows, about the fusion between sex and love.
And early on, it seemed that removing alcohol from my life would make the pieces of my life tumble right into place. My life was in some ways even messier than it had been when I was drinking.A: Yes, I was molested when I was 13, and when I was in a relationship with Dennis and we were not having sex, I was seeing a therapist to try and uncover the reasons why.That was, I think naturally, what the therapist gravitated toward — my having been molested while young, and learning to divorce love and sex.A: That has a lot to do with it — knowing that, you know, sex could be fatal, and being young in this exciting city with lots of exciting people.And even if it didn't kill you, sex could give you this slow, lingering disease that had such stigma that even the president won't mention it. Q: One thing that struck me about the relationships you write about is that they all, in one way or another, are connected to your career as a writer — either they were, originally, or they became so.It was all these simultaneous journeys that got me focused on writing "Lust & Wonder."Q: A theme that runs through the book is what I would call your reflexive pessimism.
You expect the worst to happen at all times, which leads to a kind of self-sabotage in your relationships. It's something I've debated with myself — not only the origin of that catastrophic kind of thinking, but also the validity or worth of knowing the origin. What matters is learning, through practice, to not engage that kind of thinking.
My mother, as mentally ill and fractured as she was, was a writer her whole life and encouraged me to write from a very, very early age, and I did.
And I immediately connected the act of writing — the physicality of it, having space and silence, drawing my hand across the page and training my mind to put my thoughts onto the page — to thinking and feeling.
I knew, but wasn't allowing myself to know, how incompatible we were, and how kind of hopeless it was. And I continued to lie to myself, because the alternative meant I would destroy the life I had decided I wanted and had built for myself.
Q: You came of age in the era of AIDS, and you were also living in New York, which was very hard-hit.
So it's natural that writing would be such a central thread in the book. Q: The writing filled the gap that you formerly had been filling with alcohol. And it was through writing — only through writing — that I was able to reach this place that drinking could never quite deliver me to.