Earlier this week, I got a text from a very good friend who was starting Super while waiting for her dentist appointment:
HER: You used Larry’s name?
ME: Larry who?
HER: Her boss.
ME: Yeah but who is Larry to you?
HER: Are you serious?
HER: He was my dick boss that tried to take credit for sales I did.
I assured her it was not based on her dick boss Larry but many dick bosses I’ve known over times. The conversation went on for a bit more but I really felt like saying “Dude, I don’t know the name of your boss.” I mean, I pride myself on being a pretty good friend who listens carefully to what’s going. I’ll probably remember the name of the boy you’re crushing on. But I can’t always remember the name of your boss two bosses ago off the top of my head. Also, if his name isn’t Idris or Apple, it’s not really fair to assume that his very common name inspired a character.
She wasn’t the only one. I got an email from an old acquaintance asking why I used our brunch date as a scene in my book. I had no idea what she was talking about at first. But then I remembered that I had brunch with her and two other girls right before I left NY in 2014. But Super–and that brunch scene along with so many others–had been plotted since early 2012. I’ve been to a million brunches in my life. Not all of them end up in books.
But I could see where they was coming from because I wrote it with the intention of people relating to it. I wanted Larry to be a typical type of boss you see in sales jobs and for Brooklyn Paper to be that typical sales job. I took a little bit from my all of my old bosses and a bit from The Office to mix together to make him and that office. I wrote that brunch based on the million brunches I’ve had over the years and the funny situations that have occurred or might occur at any one of them. If you look at these things and see your own experiences, that means I’ve done my job by making the scenes relatable.
Like I’ve said before, Audrey is not me but she definitely lives in a world built on my experiences. I did work at a place in Brooklyn that was very much like Brooklyn Paper. I walked through Cadman Plaza Park every morning. The laundromat where she finds Cinderella was my laundromat. I did see a drag queen do a musical number with a dog in the parking lot there. But that doesn’t mean it’s about me. Those are just the fine details meant to flesh out the story. They work because they are based on real things.
That said, there are some very specific situations that come from very specific experiences or conversations in my world. But all of the people who those were inspired from have already been told about it.
So if you’re reading Super and wondering if something is based on you, check your email and your text logs. If we didn’t talk about it, the answer is no.