The Artichoke Dinner was one of the first stories I wrote. It came to me one night after I had had dinner with my children, who were all adults by then. I thought of my own childhood and adolescence, that time I had been forced to eat the artichoke, the compelling feeling I experienced then that I had to resist it, that it was a matter of life and death for me. I had to write about it. In the first draft, I poured down all my fear, my rage, unrefined, overwhelming. And then I worked on the text again and again, so as to make it bare and raw, minimal.
After that, I wrote more stories about my life, always starting with a striking episode, first letting out on the paper all the primal crude feelings and then skinning the text until only the literary essentials were left.
The Artichoke Dinner might become the title story of my collection.