"I tried so hard to find myself by trying to make myself someone that I wasn't," says Salzman, "and that always, inevitably, leads to failure, I suspect, and failure generally makes for good humor."
Salzman is swinging through town to plug the paperback release of his latest novel, 2000's Lying Awake. The somewhat more grave storyline concerns a cloistered nun who experiences moments of what she believes to be deep communion with God, only to discover that they're most likely seizures induced by a brain tumor. "The question for her," says the author, "is, 'How do you move forward when you're not even sure where you're going anymore?'"
Salzman reports that he experienced his own confusion during the six years of endless rewrites it took to complete the book. At one point, he says, he had grown so sick of sitting at his desk that he spent an entire year working on Lying Awake in the passenger seat of his Honda station wagon. His cat often chose to lounge atop the car's moonroof, and the humble author occasionally pondered the meaning of it all while "staring up a cat's ass."
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