Lorrie Moore's First Draft
By Serge Astapkov



Aug. 8
I am worried that his affect is rubbing off on me. I find myself adopting his idiosyncrasies. It seems I need to pay closer attention to myself as well as him. I am unsure of what it is about him that makes his personality and mannerisms so infectious; perhaps it is his apparent earnestness. He is extremely wrapped up in 'his world' and I feel he genuinely believes the claims he makes about his life (even the ones that directly contradict my files on him). However, he is pleasant and very agreeable. He does not seem like he is trying to 'trick' me or anyone else. He is polite and shy.

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Aug. 15
Today he gave me more details about one of his 'books'. It seems I have not addressed the topic in my notes. He likes to use the term 'vague relationships' when asked what the general theme of these books is. He described this particular one as a novella spanning a year or two, and said it was mostly based on his own life around 2008. When asked to present a physical copy of one of his books, he could only show a marble 'composition' notebook full of badly scribbled prose and poetry. His prose and poetry is quite varied; he seems to be a talented young man. He told me stories about the publishing house he 'founded' sometime within the last ~4 years, as well as a film production company and corresponding online store. I am fascinated by his ability to keep track of all of these stories, and the amazing consistency with which he does it. As for his 'books', I have taken separate notes on the stories he told me and researched them. I am positive he is making them up but the detail is unbelievable. Has he 'memorized' them? Perhaps they are based on the life he lead before he became a patient but my research was too brief to confirm or deny this. One last thing: his writing uses a lot of scare quotes and, after reading them on paper, I have begun to notice 'inflections' in his voice where, were he writing instead of speaking, it would make sense to utilise scare quotes. I have also begun to notice that I am inflecting my voice in a similar manner.

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Aug. 22
We looked through his drawings for about an hour. While not 'technically' complex, they are very clever; they act as a further window into his unique worldview. He has built 'his world' up so meticulously and with such detail that digging for holes or gaps in it proves challenging. The drawings are simple - 'minimalist' bloblike creatures done in a sort of cute, cartoony style (he favors hamsters) and containing subversive undertones (i.e. drug use, sometimes referencing the pharmaceuticals that he is given here to stabilize his moods and other times 'street' drugs which he may or may not have had contact with in the past). He has written the word 'Vice' on some of them. I have made copies of a few of the drawings and taken them home for closer inspection (in fact I rather enjoy them and feel glad that I will have my own copies). I have also made copies of some of the poetry and prose in the marble 'composition' notebook he has previously shown me. We talked about authors he enjoys reading after this. He says he is lined up to to teach a class in the fall about some of them at a major private liberal arts college near New York City; he drew out a lesson plan which included Lorrie Moore, Haruki Murakami, Ann Beattie and Joy Williams. He has begun to open up more, so to speak, being much more 'animated'. It seems he is becoming more comfortable with me.

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Aug. 29
We talked about some of the things he has mentioned regarding 'Internet fame'. He claims he has ~10,000 Twitter followers and a 'sizable' following on Tumblr as well. I am unaware of his ever having a Twitter account or Tumblr account in the past, and patients are not allowed to access the Internet during their stay. He told extremely detailed stories about having submitted his writing to websites (some of the websites he mentioned, HTMLGiant and Thought Catalog, exist, while others like Stabbing Hamsters Press and Fuckihateu, seem made up by him) and about asking people on Twitter for money and paying them back with interest. He told me about someone messaging him on Gmail chat and using the word 'bro' a lot. I feel fascinated by his writing style and am, in fact, inspired by it; I have begun writing my own short stories at home, working with a combination of ideas from my own life, elements from the sections of his marble 'composition' notebook I have been studying, and fictional aspects. I am excited about it. He also mentioned having 'sales' on the online store he claims to run in conjunction with his publishing house and film production company. I felt fascinated by his selling model: using one's own self as the brand and then selling related merchandise like printed, hand edited manuscripts and stickers, all together in one package. I wonder if this would actually work for turning a profit. One sale he mentioned that I enjoyed hearing about very much was called something like 'The "I Fucked Up My Bank Account By Spending Too Much Money" Sale'; it seems the honesty of such names appeals to his target market. I asked him more about his profit model and he mentioned a film with the film company that was shot on a MacBook where he and a woman followed an 'Internet-famous' girl for a night in Las Vegas. I looked into it further and while the girl exists, and lives in Las Vegas, searches for the woman, the film and the production company turn up no relevant results.

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Sep. 5
I find myself talking in ways he talks. I find myself writing in ways he writes. I find myself thinking in ways he thinks. It is very concise and analytical. He is very concise and analytical. I am now concise and analytical. This is interesting. I feel good. I feel okay. Today he brought Adderall XR to the session. We do not prescribe these here and he would not tell me how he came to be in possession of them. I accepted it. It seemed okay. I had felt 'kind of bleak' and wanted to 'try something new' in regards to my sessions with him. He offered me an Adderall XR. I snorted it off of my desk. I used an orange Bic lighter to crush the beads. I used a $20 bill from 2004 to snort it. The serial number was GH03885563A. I used that $20 bill to buy ~150 mg of Adderall XR to take home with me to make my writing process go smoother; I have begun writing a novel using some of the plot points I gleaned from the copies I made of his marble 'composition' notebook. I feel like I do not want these ideas to 'go to waste'. We talked for a long time about his worldview. I got the distinct 'vibe' that he was treating it like a 'promotional interview'. I had fun playing along with this. We talked for far longer than our session usually lasted. I had lost track of time.

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Sep. 12
Today I observed him interacting with other people. When he was being administered Ativan he offered to sell several flyers, stickers, and other 'assorted items' from his room (2x pieces of thread from his pajamas, 1x sheet of Hilton stationary with a drug-relate comic on it, 1x paper cup on the bottom of which was drawn a pentagram and on the side of which was drawn an upside down cross in red Sharpie marker, 1x aforementioned red Sharpie marker colored black with what I assume to be a black Sharpie marker) for $50, claiming "it will be worth $5,000 in 10 years." The nurse declined his offer. I almost considered accepting it. This business model fascinates me. I could start doing this myself. I just need to make sure he stays here. This should be simple. I am in control. I 'call the shots'. I just need to mark a different checkbox than usual and it's 'over'. This seems 'doable'. Regarding the nurse, he muttered "do you know who I am" under his breath and, when she turned around and walked away, ate the Ativan she had given him while muttering, "God damn it."

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serge astapkov lives in new york

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@lazzzyandoh