How reading Eve Babitz got me through the depths of winter.
The winter after I finished art school and moved to New York, I started telling people I was thinking of having “a California period.” These conversations happened at parties, mostly, in high-ceilinged apartments in Crown Heights stuffy with heat, shoes melting in a salty pile outside the front door; we’d crowd around someone’s open window, smoking and ashing into the succulents, cold air rushing in as quickly as we could exhale. I envisioned a place far away from all this, far from the snowbanks that turned to dirty gray slush and the gloom that pervaded the city at dusk. I wanted Hollywood; I wanted David Hockney. I wanted pools and pool paintings, sparkles and spangled reflections under that hazy golden California light; I wanted to make abstract canvases covered in pink glitter while next to me some turquoise sky stretched off into an Umberto Eco–esque hyperreal. Read More