Sunday, May 6, 2012

What's for Lunch New York?


Last week I needed a break from a website that I was working on—I needed inspiration—so I stepped outside with no destination and stumbled into Madison Square Park. “Wow, what have we here?” There, in the middle of the oval lawn, people of all shapes, races, and sizes were groping very large, organic color blobs in all shapes and sizes. And some of them were doing more than groping them, they were pressing their ears up against their smooth ceramic flesh like they were hoping a break dancing fetus would kick them in the head.

I watched, wondered, and waited on line. Why not? When it was my ear's turn, I moved in on the old bubble gum, tongue-looking one. I began rubbing it’s belly like it was a magic lamp. And every time I moved my hand to touch a different spot, the vibrations and rare animal sounds changed moods from within. "Very cool," I thought. So I ran around the park like a little kid touching all of the foreign creatures grazing on the urban pasture. There was a lime green one that looked like a bird, a grey mouse with the rail as a tail,  a yellow foot or was it a nose that was taking up a seat on a bench, and there was phallic purple eggplant. They each has different moans and groans of their own.

All in all, it was a great little escape and I felt refreshed creatively. Sometimes when you need some inspiration, put down what you're doing and just step outside. You never know what you'll find, especially in New York. It turned out that Aliens didn't leave their play toys lying around in Madison Square Park. Acclaimed artist Charles Long did. His interactive installation, Pet Sounds, will be up all Summer. So instead of wasting your whole lunch hour waiting on line at Shake Shake for a mediocre burger, bring a tuna fish sandwich from home, touch a blob, and feel like your Alice in Wonderland in the middle of the concrete jungle.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

狗狗助你摆脱抑郁:特殊的心理医生

13 years ago, when I decided to write PUPPY CHOW IS BETTER THAN PROZAC, I had no idea how to write a book. I had barely read any books growing up except for Lord of the Flies, Orca, and Green Eggs and Ham. But I had a story that I had to tell, and I was determined to get it published.

After over 100 rejections, three lawyers, five editors, two collaborators, a big book deal, a cancelled big book deal, a small book deal, a couple of mental breakdowns, three relationships, three break-ups, one psychotic PR guy, two psychologists, three psychiatrists, and dozens of stuffed black Labradors wearing dog tags with engraved editors names in them, the book was finally published.

Puppy Chow is Better than Prozac didn't sell a million books like I had hoped for, but the story connected with many people that shared similar experiences that I had. And now 狗狗助你摆脱抑郁-特殊的 (Dog to help you get rid of depression - a special "psychiatrist.") is connecting with people in China.  At first I was a little upset that Ozzy wasn't on the cover. What's up the black dog with the red collar? And who's that guy with the black gloves? Is he supposed to be me? But then I realized it's not about me anymore. Like any story, it's about whoever reads it, wherever they are—and what they take away.