This morning, we opened Bill Hayes’ Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me to this…

I saw a young woman on a Manhattan-bound subway train. She was wearing a knockoff Louis Vuitton head scarf and false eyelashes long enough to make a daddy longlegs envious. Her look — sort of Sally-Bowles-does-Brooklyn— was complete with a matching knockoff L.V. handbag and umbrella. She was seated next to a young man as dashing in his way as she was adorable, but she took no notice of him at all as she was completely absorbed in a paperback titled something like, ‘Becoming a Practical Thinker’.

I had an impulse to tear the book from her hands.

“Don’t do that!” I wanted to say. “Practicality will not get you where you want to go. Believe me—I speak from experience.!

Looking back, every life-altering decision I’ve ever made has seemed, at first blush, misguided, misjudged, or plain foolish—and ultimately turned out to be the opposite: every seemingly wrong person I’ve fallen for, every big trip I’ve splurged on, every great apartment taken that I could not realistically afford. And, really, what is pursuing writing but a case study in an impractical career…?


Read more small, illuminating excerpts from Insomniac City, here.





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