Welcome to Face Club…

Cartoon by the amazing Allie Brosh!

The first rule of Face Club is: you do not talk about Face Club.

To hell with that.

For those of you just joining us, it’s a little over a year since I shattered my face and jaw in a grand mal seizure. Worse still, I severed all the facial nerves that fan out like a daisy across the right side of my forehead, cheeks, lips and chin. This has meant no feeling or movement for things like speaking, eating, drinking, smiling and blinking. It took 11 months to be able to blink again on my own . Lately, I am relearning how to whistle… so that I might be able to kiss again. Right now, I can only smooch people like Auntie Mame… MWAAAAHHH! Beware, I practice all the time. I had no any idea how many muscles it takes to close one’s lips together, even just for a second! It’s like doing a prison push-up with my mouth!

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Much of the time, getting better seems to stretch out to infinity. Progress has been so fucking imperceptible… like clouds on a windless day. Grrrr… But the city has been a marvelous place to recover in that it affords so much anonymity. Hooray for strangers’ willful ignorance. Such a blessing in disguise!

Today, however, I woke up to a freakin’ miracle… I can finally raise my right eyebrow!

WOOHOO! YES, I can give people the side eye. I can fully AL GORE just about anyone I want… on command! It’s the best. To celebrate, I’m going to AL GORE people everywhere, all day! I might even sigh audibly when I do it just so they notice!

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XOXO –  GG

PS – my skull a year ago!

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My Beautiful Broken Brain… Wait, is that too high fallutin’?

Cartoon by the amazing Allie Brosh (hyperboleandahalf.com)

Yes, I came home from the wild and went in for the final reconstructive surgery…

Dr. Ira Sturman and Dr. KareemofWheat…  you are indeed the crafty Oliver Sacks-van Gogh-Jan Svankmajer team of maxillofacial artistry…

And to that poor/sweet anesthesiologist who yanked  me back into life by disemboweling me through my nose… Guantanamo-style… I’m so sorry if I scared you… don’t be afraid chica, it gets fucking better, I swear 🙂

And to Sherill and Nada… feel my love ladies! You are the greatest nurses in the world… you deserve some crazy-meaningful prize… or something… a big-ass raise.

Have been shuffling around my apartment having David Lynch-style real estate dreams and looking like a drunk lady, wearing a jockstrap on my chin…which is so not fair because I have been very, very good in that regard… but I am almost one year without a full grand mal seizure and I almost feel/look like me… Even if I can’t fully talk yet… I still love what’s crackling in my beautiful broken brain and I cannot wait to see this… Feel like I have lived it 100 times over…

And now to fight eviction… by the sweetest, most patient landlords who ever were… not that I wouldn’t just give them the keys because they are the best (and I will), but when you are like I am these days… all you crave is the constancy and sameness of your books and your friends 🙂

XOXO – GG

Sorry robbers!! Of needful things, restlessness… and the marriage of keys

Between the heat… and healing, I am RESTLESS.

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My entire being itches with a NEED to travel. Always changing and changeless, at least the city offers some consolation… some relief from having to stay put and learn how to say the word: “M’waaaaaaah!”

Stupid speech therapy.

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I feel like I have hives… I have always been this way. Even as a paperclip of a kid… growing up in northern California, I’d rub my shoulder against the chafed earlobe of routine (like that scamp in the awesome film Life is a Long Quiet River)


… I’d tell my second grade teacher (who had an epic hipster ‘stache) that I simply couldn’t do last night’s spelling words… owing to the fact that our family was going on holiday to Brazil (a big fat lie)… and what with Portuguese having over 7000 irregular verbs (a big fat truth)… well, that was the real priority at this juncture… When people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d tell them Indiana Jones with a typewriter… So much for that, M’waaaaaah!

Of course, I realized the other day that if I am actually going to go anywhere this summer… I’d need to fix my front door. It hasn’t locked from the outside for over a year now. Don’t tell anyone. My neighbor had the same problem. It wasn’t hard to fix. I just dipped the key in olive oil and decided not to be in a hurry one morning. So, sorry robbers… You missed out on a really ancient iPad (seriously, the Commodore 64 has more juice) and some killer coffee stained Eugene Atget photography books!

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To be honest, every apartment I have ever lived in here has involved a strange marriage of lock and key–some very specific, singular, long-term relationship of scraping metals… one borne of years of repetitive wear… of clicking and clacking, inning and outing, poking and prying. I really didn’t think much of it,  but now it’s fixed.

Entering one’s 4th decade forces a unique brand of practicality on a person… By now, you have figured out how to fix most household things like locks and fuses and garbage disposals… You finally learn your real bra (cock) size… 34 D??? Holy crap!!! That’s HUGE!

And suddenly, tiny house design seems awesome…

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(I am obsessed with living small)

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You’ve also figured out that your standard daily uniform is short pants, tall shoes and messy hair…

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and with that… you come to covet very practical, tangible things… each very specific… the big, floppy straw hat with the 10 inch brim to ward off cancer-ish stuff… that the sugar cube is actually just the right amount of sugar for your coffee… amazing tinted sunscreens by Laura Mercier … that red Chanel lipstick is the only lipstick you truly need…  and  unexpected things…. like my friend Deb has these fabulous one-of-a-kind, handmade harem pants with elephants on them that I am so going to totally steal someday.

Maybe you even finally stop ass-shaming yourself… and realize things are pretty fine and dandy ass-is??

You may even develop some unlikely heroes…  like Isabel Marant. I love that her solution to getting a tan is drinking more carrot juice… completely charming.

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I really do covet her life. Oh… this new book isn’t going to write itself… Pray for cooling rain dear Gotham-ites! Do a rain dance… in secret… if you must.

xx- gg

Funny Face… notes on a last kiss

New York, New York… a place so great they named it twice… is a city of reaction, a city of critics, columnists, and pontificators… Robert Benchley, Dorothy Parker, Woody Allen, Nora Ephron, Jon Stewart… Everybody… down to the very last chica at the optometrist’s office who tightens the screws on my glasses… has an opinion… a clear and pronounced reaction to everything and anything.

Everyone here reacts. Except me. I’ve got nothing. Mostly.

by the amazing Allie Brosh!

by the amazing Allie Brosh!

I still can’t feel most of my face, but I’ve done a lot of What’s New Pussycats and at Day 30… I can smile:

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Granted, it’s slightly demonic, but it’s genuine… and voluntary. And speech is happening. At first, every word was like water… a formless puddle of vowels… then, when frustrated… like scalpels… singular, slicing cuts of consonants. But now I’m told I sound like a combination of French, deaf and Scooby-Doo… a lost, unconnected brogue.

I think it came out best the other day at the oral surgeon’s… I’m sitting there and Walter (the illustrious doctor) is poking my chin with what looks like a lobster fork. (sigh… man, I so miss lobster… and beef… I swear, when this is all over… I am going to eat a whole cow. Poor Bessie.)

Anyway… I’m there making Walter laugh… I’ve been listening to him scolding the guy in the next room… a Latin American construction worker who fell 3 stories onto his face… so gnarly… I’d seen him in the waiting room with his brother and thought he must have been the most beautiful man before… wide Mayan cheekbones… the kind that make a face truly cinematic… like a film screen, perfect for conveying a subtle stream of emotion… Apparently, he isn’t brushing enough.

Walter is telling him in no uncertain terms that if he gets an infection, he could lose his entire jaw… and the guy is muttering, “It’s just the pain… it hurts…” and I’m sitting there just freaking out… writhing so much in my chair I practically need a seatbelt… because for those of you who know me… I am a crazy-compulsive brusher/flosser… I want to shout at the guy, “Hey Amigo! Amigo!!! You’ve got to suck it up and BRUSH… or you’ll end up like Roger Ebert!! Trust me, you don’t want the little curtain! The curtain BLOWS!” But at that point, I’m still wired shut, and even if this is NYC, it might come off as a tad intrusive to shout at other patients through walls. Plus, he could do worse than end up like the brave and brilliant Roger Ebert… and Roger had Chaz…

But now, Walter is not laughing… he alternates between poking me with the fork and squinting at a single, foggy x-ray. Then, his face collapses inward on itself, sad, “You realize, the break was right at the nerve… ”

I scowl (on the inside) and ask, in my best French Scooby accent… “But zee nooves can we-jenna-wate?”

No answer. He just looks at me… sorry, He pokes my lips again, and I want to tell him I DO feel something, but I’d be lying. He puts a hand over my eyes, continuing… and that’s when I wonder… pretty much out of nowhere… what if my last kiss was my last kiss?

I think back and a fever dream hits.. Kissing is better than ice cream, the perfect degree of hot … like branches wrestling in a storm… it’s that I-cannot-get-you-close-enough feeling of yearning and satisfaction… like salt and chocolate… of holding someone’s face in your hands… the wild rush of being consumed and consuming… If I were Maria in The Sound of Music… I would definitely have to re-write the My Favorite Things number to include it. If I were Oprah, I would bottle it and put it under audience members’ chairs. Screw the whole giving everyone a car thing. Instead, give them that indescribable, amazing kiss feeling. I remember my face, tiny, in his hands, Like the iconic theme song to the epic 1990’s rom-com, She’s All That

Never let that bit go… is my loud and unequivocal New York opinion. Keep it close and ever closer… in case you don’t get to feel it again. Make certain your last kiss was your best kiss. Never take it for granted. Catch the deluge in both hands and linger over it. There is nothing like a kiss.

Walter uncovers my eyes and tells me plainly… with nary a hint of drama… that we need to go back in again. This time, from the other side, by my left ear. I go into the hospital on Wednesday.

I sink as I think of it now… the gnawing morphine itch, of the incalculable vulnerability of backless nighties… oof. At least, I’ll be prepared this time… Bananagrams to play with the one cool nurse… better undies for the doctors… sour apple Jolly Ranchers. I pause and wonder if I will run into Mr. Hairy-no-pants again… or Vikram, the uber-Christian Uber driver who prayed for me. I’ll tell you about him next time.

This is some heavy shit… I need to stay funny right now.

xx – gg

GG Goes Down…

Isn’t it amazing how sometimes life can feel so… BIG?  So badass?

New York City is particularly good at giving this feeling—especially if you happen to be a writer/maker/schemer of any sort. Every moment is so full… so ripe and ready to speak itself. Life… is always on the brink. Up until last week, mine felt like this… (That’s right… you apologize to me Lenny Kravitz because this is my show…)


Then, I had an accident.  A very badass accident.

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“You had a seizure in Gristedes and broke your face. We’ve had to wire your jaw shut.”

What? But I’m claustrophobic…

“We used plates and pins… ”

For what?… My face?

“You won’t be able to speak for some time.”

But that’s kind of my job lately…

And suddenly…  life could become very small, but tonight… as I consider my crappy, lovely apartment, crowded with books… the thrum of central park amid open windows, the vague smell of piss and neighbors, life does not feel wired shut.

Instead, it looms large…  fuller than ever.

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for now…

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xx – gg

Super Powers Activate! Form of… a Nectarine (yeah, you heard me right)

Ok, I’m going to need to get some super powers this week.

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I don’t actually need flight. As of tomorrow, NYC’s going to be waaaaaay too cold for that. Invisibility and mind reading are both a bust. Hearing all the mean or dismissive things people are saying about me would just confirm that my trust issues are, in fact, “truth” issues. No, I need more of an Obewankinobe capability–an “I AM the droid you’re looking for…” kind of thing. I need the power of profound persuasion…both at work and at home.

But in order for that to happen… first, I need to fix my hair. (Warning: below is a tad girly)

I look like a fucking nectarine… a Puerto Rican nectarine. (not that there’s anything empirically wrong with that) The color just clashes with my whole being.

One of the worst things that can happen to a woman in this city is for her colorist to die. Mine, Jacques, kicked it last week. Apparently, he was right in the middle of some poor woman’s highlights. Can you imagine the trauma? I’d be a complete brunette if someone fell face first into my foils.

Acceptable mourning periods aside, I had bad roots. Once you hit 40, the risk of wiry gray hairs (Cher-hair as I like to call it) is much too much to take. (at least it’s not in my ears like with dudes). But I had to fix things. I had to. Recently, I dated a guy who I think may have been ashamed of me… possibly because of my Cher hair or it could have been my general level of goofiness… I suspect the former. In any case, I wasn’t going to delay things any further, so I decided to take a risk and “Groupon” on a hair deal.

All I can say is, “Never, ever, ever again.”

By the way, I did try to explain to the Groupon woman that I thought I needed some toner, but this lady was from the Bronx, (not that there’s anything wrong with that) but she took offense, and so I figured I’d best seek a solution elsewhere.

Today, after my barre class, which Marvin says will firm and lengthen things without making me look so much like a praying mantis, I am set to cure my tangerine tresses at a back alley place the ladies here all swear by. It’s called “Sam and Chris”. It’s like a speakeasy–except it’s for hair.

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According to my girlfriend Leia, these guys are my only hope. More news as it breaks.

XOXO – gg