This story was not intended to be about Jean Stein.
We start collecting with rocks. We begin, then, in the realm of prehistory, poring over minerals that might be millions or billions of years old, numbers so large and abstract that children might spend hours trying to conceptualize them.
This was the gray susurration of PBS and all the corduroy dads of the long afternoons.
The line was drawn—who were the boys who would remain celibate? And who were the boys who would fuck?
What could the “I” be in language, could it dissolve into other “I’s,” could it be multiple? Could the I’s begin playing games with each other?
I recently discovered that—unlike in my twenties—at 46 years old I am able to spend innumerable hours watching The X-Files unassisted by marijuana.
We don’t need a film crew to invent an LAPD cruiser in flames outside a mall; teargas in a D.C. churchyard; a Minneapolis precinct on fire; a new generation marching in the glow.
What follows is a story of a number of women who invented fortunes. They lied, faked pictures, forged documents, and posed as socialites, or royals. They enacted, without knowing one other, The Heiress Con: inventing a fortune in order to create one.
Living with her family in Baton Rouge when she was 12 years old, Lucinda Williams got her first guitar. Her teacher taught her to fingerpick, a technique she still uses today.
I spent 2017 researching a novel partially set in a prison’s solitary confinement wing. I have been fortunate enough to never have experienced solitary myself, which is not to be taken for granted if you lived in Iran and were involved in politics.