Blogging Around


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So Long, Yucatan


My novel Spinning is about a man who has to deal with sudden fatherhood. Dylan Hunter’s girlfriend – who has only recently returned to his life – dies, leaving him to care for her three-year-old daughter. For a twenty-nine-year-old living a fast lifestyle and riding a rocket ship to the top of his career, this leads to an enormous change in plans.


In part, this novel was inspired by a reaction to the birth of my first child. It wasn’t my immediate reaction; my immediate reaction was to be smitten at a level I didn’t realize possible. This other reaction came a couple of weeks later when I had a bracing moment of clarity amid the delightful fog of new fatherhood. Hey, I thought, I can’t just walk out on my job anymore if things tick me off. I can’t decide to move to the Yucatan now and become a snorkeling instructor. I have responsibilities. I’m locked in!


Now, really, none of this should have come as a surprise to me. It wasn’t as though I was unaware of what I was committing to when my wife and I decided to have a child. Meanwhile, I’d never once come close to walking out on a job because my boss ticked me off. And as lovely as the Yucatan is, I’d never even entertained the thought of living there…not to mention that snorkeling makes me skittish, so becoming an instructor wasn’t ever an option. The point, though, was that, while I wasn’t a particularly impetuous person, my days of impetuousness were officially over. This gave me pause for about four minutes, I told myself to get over it, and I got on with my day.


I never forgot that moment, though. I think there’s a little of Dylan in all of us. We all, to varying degrees, relish our independence and fantasize about living an untethered life. The idea that we can’t move around on the spur of the moment is something we all need to address at some point. Some of us do so with grace. Many of us even embrace responsibility, believing that we were less fulfilled before we had it. The overwhelming majority of us get to a stage, though, when we realize that we’re not only living for ourselves anymore. This can stop us in our tracks for four minutes, four weeks, or for the rest of our lives (as has happened with some people I know).


I guess in some ways Spinning was a way of revisiting a revelation I dismissed many years ago. It’s not giving anything away to tell you that Dylan doesn’t brush it aside nearly as casually as I did.