Someone once asked me if milk+honey was a love story.

I tried not laughing.

When I asked them to describe the opposite of love they offered hate, sadness, anger. Throw in some paranoia, intolerance and violence, I told them, and you'd be a little closer to the heart of it.

milk+honey started when I needed to be doing anything other than thinking about the miserable state of my life. I already had the idea – about a guy with a ruined face – but that was it. All it took was an emotionally disemboweling break-up to get it out of its pre-germinated form. Shit happens.

Finished the first draft in five weeks. Did nothing but write or lay in bed staring out the window waiting for sleep. Both were their own kind of analgesic.

Spent the next five years getting the manuscript into a state I was happy with. Draft after draft it got shorter. Less diluted. More itself.

I threw out scenes, chapters, entire characters with something like glee. I enjoyed cutting out the useless so much (using what Hemingway called the built-in shock-proof shit detector) that it's informed my approach to writing ever since.

The shorter it got, the closer it got to what I wanted to feel.

Now you decide.
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