It’s the old story. Man bites self. In the ‘90s, I came undone. The fractured image I had of myself and my mindless ambition collided violently with the dawn of someone else: me. This was a gut wrenching process that I risk aggrandizing and should just call by its real name. I went through my 20s. Then I began to hear my voice. My muse. She is aggressive. She inspires me to write articles, mysteries, non-fiction narratives, songs, children’s stories, and, for a decade, daily comic strip. When I hear her clearly, I hear me, and I no longer resist – for better or worse. The result can be hard to categorize. My publisher and agent laugh: what’s next? I don’t know. The collection here comes from the simple formula of this muse, long-practiced and sinewy writing muscles, naps, tennis, and the support of many. I hope some of this resonates.
I’ve been on the staff of the New York Times since 2000, having written previously at smaller newspapers. At the Times, I initially wrote about all things technology, and different business issues and, eventually, about climate change and American sociology with a group of reporters tasked with writing about “How We Live.” In 2009, I wrote a series about distracted driving that led to the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 2010. That series, beyond its substance, involved trying to build deeply human narratives around a complex subject, a style that has become central to subsequent series I’ve done at the Times on: the science of heavy computer use; computer use in schools; rise of obesity around the globe; and, in 2019, a new series on the rise of drug-resistant infections. On the fiction side, I’ve sought to include substantive ideas around fast-paced story, beginning with Hooked in 2009 through my latest, Dead on Arrival. Previously, I created and wrote the daily comic strip “Rudy Park,” illustrated and now written by Darrin Bell, a world-class cartoonist. I grew up in Boulder, Co., attended college at the University of California at Berkeley, graduate school for journalism at Columbia University. I live in San Francisco with my wife, Meredith, our two kids, our dog, and our cat. Cherished possessions include my (many) Head tennis racquets, J45 Gibson guitar, and my coffee grinder and espresso machine.