At the East Village’s Library bar, the Voice settled in for birthday cocktails with newly minted novelist (How Soon Is Never?, Three Rivers Press) and Spin senior writer Marc Spitz.
How old are you today? Thirty-four. [He points to an envelope on the bar.] I got a raccoon penis in the mail today. J.T. Leroy sent it to me. I don’t know if I’m going to wear it. Do you think I need to wash my hands after touching it?
Your protagonist, Joe Greene, is in his thirties and working for a music magazine and has the name of a famous sports figure and is sleeping with 22-year-olds and really loves the Smiths. Why not just write a memoir? I wanted that much more freedom to lie. Writing a memoir, well, I think you have to have done something first.
Well, you just wrote a novel. That’s something. They could just reissue it. “A memoir by Marc Spitz, the guy who wrote the novel.” But it would be the same book. It could have been a memoir. It could have been Rock Journalism Confidential. But I wanted the freedom to make up characters and put words in people’s mouths. The book I’m working on now has nothing to do with me, but I think your first novel should have everything to do with you. You should get it out of the way.