Love, Loss and Longing in the Age of Reagan: Diary of a Mad Club Girl

Love, Loss and Longing in the Age of Reagan: Diary of a Mad Club Girl - Iris Dorbian

There are times in life when you experience a time in your life when your body seems to make decisions without your heart or your head being involved - almost like an out of body experience. That's how reading Love, Loss, and Longing. . . felt to me. I felt as if I was experiencing everything the MC had, but was in no way in control of the choices I was making. 

I chalk that up to the excellent writing and detailed descriptions in this, well, almost coming of age, type story. I was looking for a little more of a conclusion or finale, but often life doesn't give us that. So it seems all too realistic. 

This book felt very real to me - leaving me with the feeling that I'd experience all the MC had, instead of simply reading about it. 

Very well written. Highly recommended. 

Some Bio Information

Iris Dorbian is a former actress turned business journalist/blogger. Her articles have appeared in a wide number of outlets that include the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Venture Capital Journal, DMNews,, Playbill, Backstage, Theatermania, Live Design, Media Industry Newsletter and PR News. From 1999 to 2007, Iris was the editor-in-chief of Stage Directions.

She is the author of Great Producers: Visionaries of the American Theater, which was published by Allworth Press in August 2008. Her personal essays have been published in Blue Lyra Review, B O D Y, Embodied Effigies, Jewish Literary Journal, Skirt!, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Adanna Literary Journal and Gothesque Magazine. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.


1. What inspired you to write this book?

 I had been wanting to write a fictionalized book inspired by my experiences attending college in New York City in the early 1980s for some time. It was an insane and chaotic time, very turbulent but also very exciting, at least for this sheltered girl from the ‘burbs.

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process? 

When I'm working on a long-form narrative, I will try to outline beforehand the beats I want to hit in the initial draft. At the same time, I don't want to impose too much structure or order for fear I might squelch a genuinely good idea in the making. Then after I'm through with the first draft, I'll go back and revise, revise and revise. What doesn't work, I'll cut; and what does work, I'll keep in, of course, and maybe expand upon. 

3. Describe your favorite scene in this book. 

If I had to reflect upon which part of the book was the most entertaining for me to write about, it would have to be the chapter devoted to Edie's job as a cocktail waitress at the downtown New York City rock club The Ritz (now known as Webster Hall). This section is completely inspired on my own experience working as a waitress at the club during my junior year in college while juggling a full-time course-load. But as fun as it was to write, it was also the most demanding and labor-intensive thanks to the the sheer volume of detail I tried to recall and evoke--from the club decor and music to the other waitresses and cast of characters who used to hang out at the club. 

Although I've never disguised the fact that this novel is a roman a clef, I've also never backed down from admitting that many of the conversations, characters and events depicted in Love, Loss and Longing in the Age of Reagan are fictionalized. For instance, I NEVER got accosted by a madam of a call girl agency in the bathroom at the club. That entire exchange never happened. But it was a lot of fun to write. 

4. What does the perfect writing environment look like to you?

Quiet, calm and well illuminated!  

5. How would you describe your writing style? 

Sardonic, methodical, observant and precise. 

6. What would you like readers to take away from your book? 

It's better to be honest with yourself and follow your heart rather than lose your soul by emulating a constricting or socially prescribed ideal of cool. 

7. What’s your ultimate writing goal?

I'd like to write a best-seller. Why not?