A Debut Author Raises a Glass!

Article by Jeremy

Let’s set the scene:

You’re a debut author. It’s the magic hour—that time in the afternoon when the sun has set but light still dusts the sky. After years of struggle, your first book is forthcoming, about to enter the world. Tomorrow, there will be time for more stress—for interviews, for readings, for sleeping on couches as you tour the country and share your work with the world…but for now, take a deep breath, put on some music, and grab yourself a drink. It’s time to relax. It’s time to reflect. It’s time for #debooze.

In #debooze, we ask a debut author to reflect on his/her road to publication, and to also recommend some booze.

The Debut: Will Chancellor's A BRAVE MAN SEVEN STOREYS TALL

The Booze: Margaritas

 

This book began 18 years ago on my first day of college. I was seated at a conference table with a dozen other nervous freshmen in our Grand Survey of Civilization! seminar. The professor puts up a slide of a bronze statue, tells us it's Poseidon, and asks what we think. Everyone looks down and starts picking at their denim. Except this one guy, this six-eight blonde water polo player raises his arm and says,

—I don't think it's very accurate.

The professor looks puzzled and says,

—That's an interesting choice of words. It's a statue of a god, what do you mean it's not 'accurate'?

—Well, I always thought Poseidon would look like me.

Some part of me registered how radically other this psychology was. I kept circling back to the question, 'Who the hell says something like that?'

After college, I tried to become an environmental lawyer. I worked at Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund, but was dispirited by how decades of hard-won battles can be undone with an executive order. Then I thought that I would approach global environmental policy through the more translatable fields of epidemiology, chemistry and physics—the coolest work at Earthjustice was done by the scientists. So I moved to Austin to finish some prerequisite courses for an MPH/MD.

But that comment kept coming back to me. And at this point I was more interested in translating Homer, talking ideas with friends at Spiderhouse, Mojo's and Dolce Vita, and learning Russian—chiefly to help me better understand the Slavic novels I was buying by the armful at Half Price Books.

Fucking Half Price Books. Very frequently, I decided to buy books rather than food. If I caught sight of the turquoise spine of a Penguin Twentieth Century Classic, I was done. I remember spending my last penny on THE RAZOR’S EDGE, looking at the calendar and realizing I was ten days away from a paycheck, which meant I would have to scrounge for food in the house.

As it turned out, the only 'food' that was mine was a half-dozen leftover canisters of Minute Maid Limeade. For a syrupy week, I ate frozen limeade concentrate with a spoon. And read Somerset Maugham.

How did those Limeade canisters get there in the first place? Glad you asked. Turns out that the perfect margarita calls for concentrate.

Perfect Margarita (cheap):
-one canister limeade
-six ounces of rail tequila
-splash of triple sec
-ice

Blend high until slushy

Salt the hell out of the rim

Perfect Margarita (fancy)*:
-2 oz Single Estate Ocho Silver (Tequila)
-3/4 oz Luxardo Triplum (Triple Sec)
-3/4 oz Fresh squeezed lime juice
-1/4 oz Del Maguey Iberico (Mezcal)

Shaken with fresh ice and strained into a rocks glass

*Thanks to KJ for the secret recipe

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