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"A short but deeply researched, dark, intense biography... studded with original aperçus about the art of biography, the nature of literary influence, and the importance of place to a writer's sensibility." -- Priscilla Gilman, The Boston Globe
On Match.com, Ken’s moniker was “Dull.” He wrote that among his favorite things were office carpeting, spam, and waiting rooms.
“I bet he lives in one of those storage units off the highway,” my friend Meg said as she read over my shoulder.
My own profile was styled after Nancy Drew. Hair color? Titian. Hobbies? Motor boating, driving too fast, psychological methodology. Meg’s said that she was lookin’ fast in her faded jeans. Hobbies? Sundown.
Meg and I had both recently ended long relationships—the sort of relationships that once would have ended in marriage and children but now ended in U-Hauls, a roommate, and an over-priced apartment on the Lower East Side. “You’re sisters, right?” strangers asked, sure of the answer before we gave it. “Yes!” we’d cry, even though we weren’t. We were best friends—siblings who’d chosen each other—an impossible gift.
“Let’s write to Dull,” I said.
We decided to regale him with all the boring things we loved: cork. Taupe. Slightly warm tap water. Meg loved anything from a hospital cafeteria. He wrote back. My favorite food is day-old carrots from a warming tray. I told him I was athletic, an extreme decoupager. It’s not as easy as people imagine, I wrote. You have to really want it.read more...