I have no particular wisdom to offer you nice people today. Life has been throwing some extra weirdness at me lately, and Seattle is having a heat wave (a Pacific NW “heat wave”=over eighty degrees) that I cannot really cope with. And I got sucked back into the fruitless search for a nude lipstick that doesn’t make me look like I chalked myself. And there’s a bee flying around me right now, in my living room, and I can’t tell if it’s the stinging kind or not, and I know in my brain that bees are our friends, but I can’t quite feel it. I don’t feel a sense of warmth and fellowship between me and whoever this is bumping around inside the lampshade.
So yeah. I’ve been worse, but I’ve been better, too.
But I’m sober, because I have at least learned not to do the one thing guaranteed to make any of my problems worse. And, of course, I have a book coming out in August! Isn’t that so weird? I think it’s weird. But, I mean, I’ll take it. We recorded the audiobook earlier this week, which was surreal and intense–as in, I had to read the entire book out loud–but also a huge amount of fun. Not every author gets to narrate her own audiobook, so I feel extra lucky that I did. I just don’t think it would have the same feeling coming from a professional narrator, no matter how skilled.
Here’s a picture of me looking pretty pleased with myself on the way in, and then vaguely like a hostage about thirty minutes later. And also a picture of the little table I sat at for two days, and also a picture of Elvis, one of the studio dogs, who was–well, look, I love all dogs, but he was not the most exciting one I’ve ever met. Maybe the heat was getting to him too.
Some incredibly gratifying new blurbs have also come in this month, most recently this one from Leslie Jamison, or Leslie Fucking Jamison as I have taken to calling her. Her own new addiction memoir/history The Recovering is everywhere right now, and I highly recommend it, along with her debut essay collection, The Empathy Exams, which became a surprise bestseller and sort of reset the bar for what an essay collection could achieve in the commercial marketplace. (Speaking of which–did you know there is no legal limit on how many copies of my book you’re permitted to own? You could legally buy a new copy every day for the rest of your life if you felt like it. Just thought you might like to know that bit of trivia, no particular reason.)
Anyway, here’s what Leslie Jamison had to say about Nothing Good Can Come From This:
“Kristi Coulter charts the raw, unvarnished, and quietly riveting terrain of new sobriety with wit and warmth. Nothing Good Can Come from This is a book about generative discomfort, surprising sources of beauty, and the odd, often hilarious, business of being human.” — Leslie Jamison
If she said it, it must be true! I was also thrilled by this praise from memoirist and novelist Susan Jane Gilman, whose travel memoir Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven is particularly stunning:
“Brave, whip-smart, and laugh-out-loud funny. Kristi Coulter does not pull any punches tackling the taboos in so many women’s lives: addiction, sex, money, privilege, ambition, adultery, and power. In these essays, she bares her own soul to a greater end, writing with unflinching honesty and unexpected poetry. Although this is framed as a book about drinking, it’s ultimately about so much more: the insidious reasons why so many of us might polish off an entire bottle of Chardonnay in the first place—and how we might better serve ourselves in the end. Coulter herself is addictive to read. She’s a fresh, uncensored voice, offering up more than a drop of insight and hope.”–Susan Jane Gilman
(Susan’s quote is the one you can show your friends who are like “Wah, I don’t want to read a book about drinking.” “Well, how about a book about SEX? you can say. How about MONEY? How about POWER? Do any of these topics appeal to your highly refined tastes?” Just keep going relentlessly down the list until they are forced to admit they actually DO want to read my book. Thanks in advance.)
And finally, I’m super excited to present the very first excerpt, which Longreads ran yesterday! It’s about my very first night sober, and an otter that I’m pretty sure I blogged about here several years ago. There will likely be other excerpts (and some new work, too) to share before August 7th, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoy this one. (Also, I love the artwork they chose. As a friend pointed out, addiction essays all too often end up with a glamorous-looking header image–but this one looks disturbingly like my own recycling bins not so long ago.)
Like I said, friends, life is weird these days, but I guess it’s full of wonders too. Either way, we carry on.