What the fuck exactly is your problem?
You write three brilliant works of fiction--including quite possibly my favorite novel of all time, Jernigan--and then just disappear. It's been almost six years now since you've released anything noteworthy. And I've scoured the web and can't locate any evidence that you've got something in the works. What gives?
I know you got divorced again. And sure, I know you regularly pop up in The New York Times Book Review (including that fun evisceration of William Boyd; although personally I like Boyd) and Newsweek. And yeah, I realize there are those collections to edit and classes to teach.
But I want some god-damned fiction. Philip Roth is 127 years old and he still manages to churn out a brilliant novel annually. What gives Gates?
It's possible you don't remember me. We first met at a book fair in Miami. You kindly signed my copy of Wonders of the Invisible World. I unsuccessfully attempted to provoke you into a debate about John Prine's recently released duet collection, In Spite of Ourselves, which you'd savaged in Newsweek. (In retrospect, I think you may have been right about that Prine album. It hasn't worn well. I seldom listen to it.)
Then a year or so later I was sitting at the bar in the old Table of Contents restaurant in St. Paul drinking wine and eating soup and re-reading Jernigan and you plopped down on the stool next to me. What a coincidence! (Although I guess you were about to give a reading at the attached bookstore.)
I sheepishly showed you my well-creased copy of the book and we engaged in plesant conversation for five minutes or so. If memory serves, I even told you that I was a reporter and that I had written the cover story in that week's City Pages (my first ever) and that you should check it out. Did you ever get a chance to read the story? It's not altogether awful.
Anyhow, hopefully we can catch up in the near future. But in the meantime, write some fucking fiction!