Letter from isolation

Because what we're all craving right now is more content. And cocktail recipes.

Hey everyone,

What a weird time, huh?

When I started this newsletter I was all “okay! Awesome! I am finally getting my life in order after a pretty irregular (hah) two years.” I had a new 9-5, with great insurance, where my job is essentially to make sure an adult man does things he is supposed to do (I am great at this!) as well as occasionally go to the post office. I had just adopted a cat (and come out the other side of A LOT OF CAT ADOPTION RELATED DIFFICULTIES, DEAR GOD).

Eliot, my partner, who is great on Twitter, was in the midst of a really excellent internship at VinePair. For once in my life I wasn’t stressing about having wine with dinner! (Is this wine too expensive? if it was so cheap will it be bad? I hate bad wine but I’m a penny-pincher! Do we have to finish this wine tonight? It’ll be a waste to let this expensive wine oxidize overnight, but it’s a work night and I need to do edits on this novel after we’re done eating! and on and on. But now new bottles were coming home for free every night!)

I had a new agent (hi Caitlin!) and new motivation to finish this serial killer perfume millennial madness book I’ve been banging on about for roughly a thousand years. I was feeling like I had everything under control!


We’re pretty lucky—both working from home, though with the economy looking so grim and Eliot’s internship coming to an end and our free wine supply dwindling, there’s clouds on the horizon. But our cat came through her visit to cat Planned Parenthood all right, and I have a new sourdough starter I have named Puff Daddy. He is already producing wonders. He’s certainly more prolific than I am.

I also started some sauerkraut, and created a Slack for my Clarion class (two of whom have been struck by the dreaded disease and are under quarantine). If I can figure out how to get ahold of some koji rice now that everything is closed, I’m going to attempt some Noma-style breadso.

For his part, Eliot bought a magnum of Santa Cruz de Coya before lockdown, and also a Vacu Vin.

So now it’s just about finding any kind of motivation to…you know, finish a book that would have been really relevant BEFORE a global pandemic changed literally everything about the world. And hope that maybe, eventually, we go back to some semblance of normal.

Though I’ll admit if my book is still relevant in that new semblance of normality, we will definitely have fumbled the opportunity this catastrophe offered us.

Anyway, here’s a picture of my cat that I stole from Eliot’s Instagram story. Her name is Cocchi. No one can pronounce it! We wanted to name her after a James Bond character, or possibly an inquisitive and strong-willed woman, or possibly both. In the end we named her after a bitter Italian aperitif, because we have friends with a cat named Cinzano and thought that was great. Plus, it gives us Cokie Roberts (which rhymes!) and Cocchi Americano Bianco, which is an acceptable substitute for the sadly discontinued Kina Lillet you need for a proper vesper.

Cheers in these dark times. If you’re trying to use up weird stuff on your bar, try an Adelita (we didn’t have tequila so used cachaça) or check out Eliot’s article on 20 Cocktails to make while you’re self-quarantined. Cin-cin, stiff upper lip, and all that! Sorry if this isn’t quite what you expected from my newsletter. But this isn’t quite what I expected from 2020, so I guess we’re all even.