I’d like first to acknowledge the giant elephant looming like a portrait in the room. Elephant: consider yourself acknowledged.
If you know me then you know how engrossed I am with the “small-ness” of the world; its patterns of coincidence and cosmic attraction; its signs and symbols; its alluring mystery. Well, lately I’ve been wrapped up in another bout of universal coincidence and intrigue…though not exactly universal.
If you’ve been alive in New York lately, you know the name Emily Gould. Ms. Gould, of whom I was once a moderate–now devoted–follower, was once an editor-writer for Gawker, of which I am still a moderate follower. If you follow either (and chances are that you do) then there is certainly no reason to synopsize the drama. Whether or not I side with Emily (I do, mostly, by the way) is not the point; my means is not currently to argue. Point is: I have (I know, where the hell have I been?) discovered that Emily most recently dated Keith Gessen, one of the founding editors of the decidedly highbrow and overly self-important n+1, and author of the splendidly titled, but insipidly executed All The Sad Young Literary Men.
Not very long ago (it may have been Mother’s Day) I sat, reading Dave Itzkoff’s article in the Times on Gessen. Aware of Gessen’s existence, n+1 (I’ve, in fact, pondered contribution), and Gould, I thought to myself that perhaps I would one day read Gessen’s book. A few weeks later, on a drizzly night at Book Court, not yet having read the book, I stood talking with Gessen and the wonderful Sloane Crosley. On this particular night, however, I found myself tired, with an infected wisdom tooth aching in my mouth, devoid of clear thoughts in my head, and wondering just who the hell this Gessen character was. Why do I know him? How do I know him? Why am I standing here talking to him? I know I left the keys somewhere, but where?…(To note: I did not have this problem with Sloane.)
I could have easily mentioned to Keith that I read the article in the Times, that I was a fan of his often-unnecessarily ridiculed and lambasted lightning rod of a girlfriend (though, I believe, on that particular date, they were very freshly broken up…best, then, that I didn’t bring it up?), that you’ve all swirled together in a delightfully amusing mash of coincidence in my world. But I forgot that I had read the article about him in the Times, and I forgot that I read his (ex)girlfriend but, had I known that this Gould thing would explode as profoundly as it has, perhaps I would indeed have said something of the sort. I should have also said, Hey, could I have a part in this? But then that’s desperate. It wasn’t, however, until the next day when I went through some of my saved articles that I saw the Gessen one and suddenly everything spilled upon my mind like a toppled wine glass. Ah, yes, now I remember. Now it all makes sense. Keith, I’m ready to talk.