For roughly a five-year stretch beginning in 1995, I worked in Atlantic City, New Jersey, as a dealer in several casino resorts. It wasn’t that dealing had been a career ambition of mine. Instead, I had recognized that an affluent upbringing had insulated me from life as it was lived by most people in the world. I was a young man with a conscience — wealth guilt. I wanted to live in Atlantic City because its squalor felt honest. It was hubris to think that auto-exile into a tiny urban wasteland would provide whatever inspiration I thought I needed, but it took me a while to accept that — perhaps until 1999, when there came what local newspapers called a “spate” of suicides in Atlantic City.