I’ve been writing like a multi-armed maniac for the last few weeks, and what follows is the foreword to the many tentacled thing that has emerged from my seas.
From what I can tell, every coordinate on Earth is the center of the universe for someone. And my favorite thing in this whole wide world is to find myself in the middle of their story as mine is unfolding.
This book is a series of tales about landscape and identity. Stories of life — and one death — as they occurred in certain places. Tales of my fleeting encounters with others and their lasting effect on me.
In many ways, these chronicles felt foretold as I was experiencing them. Like I’d read them somewhere else. But all along I was writing them in my head. Happenstance and serendipity working in parallel.
There are so many places to go, and so many ways to tell the stories of being there. I think if you really listen to what’s happening around you, the scene is supplying the voice as well as the verb. They fluctuate with location and perception.
These are the stories as the world told them to me: Eating live termites as they came out of the ground in Kisumu. Falling in love with a Turkish man in Tanzania. Getting lost in no man’s land with a dead girl and a killer. Going dry in the Arabian desert.
It all begins with a singular, inevitable experience — dancing at the one and only Octopus Club.