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Lovergirl was the first book I ever wrote.

When I first started it, writing a book felt like a daunting task, and it was probably for the best that the project was originally limited to an essay…but then that essay simply got longer and longer, broader and broader in scope. If I had thought from the beginning that I was going to write a book, I would have been too daunted to get to page two.

My mother once said to me that she envied the ease with which I wrote. The ease? What ease?

Writing is a bloody sport. No one knows—who doesn’t do it—how painful it is, since most writing happens alone. I’ve pursued other mediums. I’ve been a performer, a musician, a photographer, an event organizer, a marketing executive, and a video game producer. But writing is the hardest, precisely because it happens alone, in the darkness from which content is born.

There is a fear that comes with writing, as you stare into the chasm every morning and tell yourself that you can fill it—that you will fill it—with words, and somehow, blindly, naively, optimistically hoping that those words will come.

Writing is a compulsion. An arrogant compulsion that your story must be told and that people must hear it. If you didn’t have that compulsion, the stories would never leave the inside of your mind. One writes because one cannot imagine not writing. One writes because writing is how writers understand and process the world.

I wrote Lovergirl in a spiral notebook during my first year in New York City. I took notes immediately after interviews with OCD precision to make sure I didn’t forget a single detail. I’d ride home in the subway, scribbling away, or sit in my office at work, recording every little thing that had just transpired, trying to capture the idiosyncrasies of the people I met and the fascination I felt with their lives. Then I’d stay late at work and turn all those details into Adrian’s diary entries. I didn’t have a computer at home, so Lovergirl was written entirely that way.

Experience -> spiral notebook scribbles -> typed diary entries.

Adrian was named after the manager of the subway station I entered every day on my way to work.

Adrian still reminds me of New York, of those early days when I, like Adrian, was trying to find my place in that city and my place in the world. There is a part of Adrian in every girl who stares down Manhattan and grows up along the way.