And Then I Spied Her…

Continuing on from yesterday…

She was a total badass with a smirk. It was a riot of thunder and lightning as I schlepped from Grand Central to our appointed public meeting spot.

Just who was this mystery woman? This patron saint of lost galleys? Obviously, she was conscientious and proactive. But would she be judgy? What if she’d already read the book and thought I was a complete kook-a-doo? Would she simply drop and dash?

I feel like the unboxing of your first book is a big-ass deal that should come with a certain amount of pomp & circumstance. When the thing that’s been inside your head for years finally exists outside of it in the actual world, you just want to commemorate the f*ck out of itI’d planned to live tweet my unboxing with our badass doorwoman, Vilma. I also thought Ed could film me skipping down Broadway in a musical version. Now, because of the USPS, schedules, and racing to BookExpo, I was missing out on all that joy. The whole thing would need to be re-enacted like a true crime series, that much was clear.

I texted her as I entered the dimly-lit Art Deco lobby and checked my rapidly frizzing hair for the zillionth time. Then, out of the corner of my eye, emerging from the last elevator on the left, I spied her…

TBC’d tomorrow… last, coolest, part. Stay rad, Lovelies. xoxo – gg

 

Of All The Trash Compactor Rooms in the City, She Had to Walk into This One…

Okay, what’s the term for squealing and holding your face for five minutes straight after reading an email from a complete stranger who has tracked you down by way of your very tiny blog to tell you that… in a city of 8.53 million people, she and her super-thoughtful boyfriend have found a box of galleys of your very first book in the trash compactor room of their building? The stories you toiled over… That somehow had gotten lost in the mail… And suddenly your publisher doesn’t have any left. And it happens to be the first day of BookExpo? Does it qualify as an epic moment? I think it does. Whatever, it’s my truth and I’m standing in it.

You’d expect an entire girlhood spent devouring Nancy Drew would have prepared me for repeated head injuries, multiple chloroform-kidnappings, and clandestine meetings to do with lost papers… but Sarah R. actually giving a f*ck and rescuing my little book meant so much. I cannot thank her enough!

We’d arranged to rendezvous near Grand Central. It almost like felt a blind date or episode of Search Party. Who was this mystery woman? What should I wear to the drop? Should I try to look more like a writer? What does that even mean? I was so nervous! I kept checking my hair. It was a dark and stormy day out and I had yet to even hold a copy of my book…

TBC’d tomorrow! Stay rad, Lovelies – xoxo – gg

 

 

 

The Big Sleep…

Don’t you just love this picture of Joan Didion? She looks so vulnerable—like she just woke up from a nap.

Hi there, Lovelies. It’s 79 and gorgeous along the Hudson where I have been leaning out… way out over the last 6 weeks. Another shout from the cool, dark little corner of New York where the fan on my desk whirs away and I ponder over how to organize a new thriller tentatively titled MUSE WITCH BEAST. Again, all kudos and love to Jami Attenberg’s #1000wordsofsummer for fueling my creative sleep.

There’s a lot of connective tissue that remains to be woven across the bones of the monstrous creature but if I’ve learned anything at all from writing SPAZ (or Gotham Girl Interrupted as it’s now titled) it’s that the book you set out to write is rarely the book that gets written.

One minute you’re penning a heady little yarn about creativity, electricity, and the brain, the next you’re wading through the swampy musings of what it means to be the loudest mute lady in NYC, and now I’ve ended up with this very long thank you note to the people who’ve looked after me all these years of dealing with epilepsy. One thing I’ve noticed (and I don’t think I’m imagining it) is that as you edge closer and closer toward your release date, the more squirrelly people around you become. They’re entirely more careful about what they say in your presence. Their voices go up an octave, sharpening in this nervous, whistling-past-the-graveyard kind of way. It’s as if they are preparing to be completely horrified by some revelation, embarrassment, or cringe-worthy detail you may have included about them. Some go radio-silent altogether. It’s surreal.

There’s this awful story/rumor that came across my feed during final editing about a memoirist who wrote a tell-all of her marriage. Apparently, her husband read it and immediately committed suicide. The prospect of any reader feeling driven toward such tragic action by anything I might jot down completely terrifies me. We’re all unreliable narrators (even of our own stories) and what if we inadvertently trigger someone or everyone? Should there be some kind of warning label like at the beginning of Incredibles 2? It keeps me up at night. The thing I woke up to however during the writing process is that while my own style of comedy often vacillates between ridiculous self-deference and subversive snark, the target is always just me. I think I’d always rather have everyone else coming off clever and effing hilarious.

I want to ask other comedians and writers about this… I especially want to ask Ottessa Moshfegh if people she knows recognize themselves in her books, or is it all some kind of wild fictitious channeling? I am reading her latest about a white girl with a trust fund who self-medicates to the point of a near-continuous blackout in the hopes of changing her life in her sleep. Who knew self-destruction could be so entertaining? There are many days I would like to nap my way to a better existence.

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Her voice is intoxicating—with zero fear of the grotesque. She also portrays privilege in a manner that makes it hard to look away.

Alas, no big sleep for any of us yet…  Get outside today, Lovelies – XOXO – GG

If Only the President Were Missing

“Do you ever feel like we’re all trapped in a political thriller that only our dads would read?” —Lucie Britsch

Hello, Lovelies… It’s only Tuesday here. It’s raining cats, dogs, and hamsters in the city, and while the whole rest of the world seems to be on fire, just a gentle reminder that beautiful things can still grow out of ashes and poo.

Also, a quick bit of exciting news as I sort through 55K fragments of the next book (thanks to Jami Attenberg’s #1000wordsofsummer) GOTHAM GIRL INTERRUPTED is now available for pre-order on Indiebound!

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Growing up along the ‘Lost Coast’ of Northern California, I would have been truly adrift without our tiny independent bookstore to anchor me, so please support yours whenever you can!

For now, hold fast and stay dry. XOXO – GG

PS – Tweet me your favorite indie bookstore @iamgothamgirl and I will follow them and do my best to make them part of the tour in November!

On Being the Mother Who Always Gets Caught: Epic Mom-Fails, Saves, and Bonus Moms

I don’t know about you. You’re probably better than I am.

I am the mother who always gets caught. It’s practically a law of physics. If I go off-script even a little, say I break the rules, trying to stand up for my kids to mean teachers (who later turned out to be shady) or go the extra mile to be “the fun/cool mom”—it’s an utter catastrophe.

Even the times when I finally buckle and say,  “Sure thing, kiddo! Let’s stay all four days of the school campout” when other parents just stay one, and although I try to stick to the script—singing merrily ’round the campfire, chopping organic veggies with all the other proper, chipper married parents—something always happens.

Suddenly, a terrified shriek disturbs the cathedral hush of the woods… and my perfect, beautiful child is standing before us all now with a broken tooth. Her wrist has its own new elbow. She has just gone head-over-heels-over-razor-scooter and is bleeding profusely about the mouth. Of course, we are in the wilderness where you can actually see the stars in an overhead blanket of velvety indigo. Fortunately,  in our motley crew of parents, there are two dentists and a doctor who all swoop in to pronounce that the front tooth can be saved and that her wrist isn’t broken. Ice packs and Ibuprofen are quickly administered.

We pass a sleepless night in our $40 tent from Target. At dawn, we race back to town to the pediatric ER where it turns out her wrist is broken. (In all fairness to Louis, the parent/ doctor, he’s a pulmonologist, not an ortho.) The on-call dentist saves the tooth, after which my darling girl rests a day and then we go back up to the campout to get her cast graffiti-ed. I never want either of my kids to suffer. It kills me. I’m sick of platitudes about how it builds character. Shut up about that already. The girls already have a surplus of character—they are both wickedly charming and resourceful.

***

My worst epic mom-fail happened when I decided, as a single mother who hadn’t had sex in over a year, to try to pull off a quick shag between basketball practice and dinner. (I know we all think mothers don’t or shouldn’t do it, but I was dying.) I raced home from work, the person I’d been flirting with for several months was waiting on my doorstep like a perfectly wrapped man-present. No commitments, no needs, he was just right there. I was WAY off-script and DTF. (People think I don’t know that acronym, but I do) We swiftly took to the sheets.

Little did I know that this week, the basketball coach decided to end practice early to let the girls rest up before the big game, which is how my poor, long-suffering daughter ended up bounding into my big game. But that’s not the worst of it…

As she bounded in… I screamed, “Noooooooooooo!!!”

At that moment, the guy on top of me leaped out of bed and headed, naked, for the window (Where was he planning on going? We lived on a high floor, was he jumping? That’s not okay.) He was so frantic, he accidentally tripped on the drapes, pulling the curtains, rods, and everything down and out of the plaster. So not only, was he in the buff in front of my horrified teenage daughter. Our neighbors and the entire city got a look-see of this wildly cringe-worthy moment.

Never trying that again.

***

My one win in all the years… I was on a conference call and after years of biblical wrath from me about mom-having-to-do-conference-calls-from-home-so-you-must-be-seriously-on-death’s-door-if-you-plan-to-interrupt-and-so-on, I’m listening to the creative team making their very best effort to sell a great, but impossible idea, when my youngest scampers in, eyes like meatballs, clutching her throat with a yellow post-it that said, “TIDDLYWINK!” She was choking on an effing Tiddlywink game chip! Why was it in her mouth to begin with? She was thirteen. That’s not how you tiddle.

I hung up the phone, whipped my daughter around and gave her the Heimlich maneuver. The chip went down instead of flying out, but she could breathe. And so again, we were off to the pediatric ER with our very calm neighbor Dean (because I was not so calm) where the Tiddly-chip was deemed non-toxic and you can probably guess the rest. Just one good moment. Phew…

***

Last thing, a hearty thanks and a happiest Mother’s Day to all the bonus moms who helped this hapless mom along the way—Joy, Claire, Maia, Jacqueline, Helene, Diana, Susan, Kirston, Teodora, Camille, Holly, Alisa, Mo, Serena, Adam Z and Charles, I’m not worthy… clearly.

Stay rad and have a meaningful day – xoxo – gg

 

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How New York Breaks Your Heart…

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And face (in sixteen places)… could be another title for my tiny-little-potato-of-a-book. Yes, I buried the lede in my last post. It’s coming out this fall and I actually have a sneak peek available here!

An official playlist and silly trailer are in the offing. In the meantime, if you’re in the mood for a snarky, sweary, hilarious rant from The New Yorker‘s own Kimberly Harrington, give yourself, your mother, and all the other mothers you know Amateur Hour: Motherhood in Essays and Swear Words

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If you’re in the mood for something visually stunning and uber-New-Yorky, try Bill Hayes’s photography collection: How New York Breaks Your Heart. I can never look away from what he manages to always see.

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One day, all our kids will run off to New York. Back to panhandling words. Have a meaningful day, Lovelies – xoxo – gg

 

Be the Unlikable Female Narrator You Long to See in the World…

Even if it is a cat. Seriously, Maris Kreizman uttered the above words last week and, bless her heart if they haven’t become my goddamn rallying cry.

Hi there, Lovelies. How the hell are you?

I have, quite literally, been trying to get down with my bad self… to conjure up the very worst person I could conceive of for my next book—a most rageful, strange, and despicable girl. I need her to possess just enough heartless psychopathy but without being too creepy-cool—though don’t you just LOVE Killing Eve on BBC America? I retreat often the Beeb for emotional support viewing given the rollicking media climate stateside.

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I also tend to prefer my killers a little more hapless and awkward while still fully owning their unfettered self-righteous indignation. My girl needs to stub her toe on the ottoman in the middle of a supremely venomous diatribe. She never quite makes a clean getaway. If anything, she makes a slightly gross one. I generally know that the experiment is working if I’ve frightened Ed or my dad. Fortunately, the ritual never lasts for more than a day or so…  either because I’m morphing into a nap-oriented, Frankie-type or something entirely lovely happens like this…

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I had no idea it was even going up. And of course, I still want a different subtitle…

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Mostly because I think of this book as equal parts epilepsy, anxiety, and depression… minus much of the unending despair you usually see associated with epilepsy (or all the) Sick Lit narratives. Evidently, I lost this round, but maybe it’s not the end of the world. Maybe it’s the beginning. #SickGirlFunny?

Speaking of beginnings, if you have a chance to get outside today, Manhattan is practically a fresh-washed, Technicolor™ movie musical…

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I SO want to challenge a complete stranger to Bananagrams in Bryant Park but I have to stay inside at my desk and channel pissed-off lady criminals. I am in writer jail. Think Lorelai Gilmore goes a bit Grey Gardens. Have a meaningful day, people. Hold fast and don’t get chronic dry eye from Clockwork Orange-ing the news… xoxo – gg

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All We Ever Wanted Was Everything

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… is the name of Wil Wheaton’s new book and dammit all if I’m not squirming with an acute case of title envy… I can’t wait to read it and am going to implore him to send me an advance copy.

But hello there, Lovelies. How the heck are you?

The above was my whole being on Friday during a conference call about a streaming series that I wrote a while back and am now just finishing up as a book… it’s netting out to about 65,000 words. I used to be afraid of the sheer number of letters, but after Gotham Girl Interrupted, I’m not… It was a Herculean task getting that book out the door. The edit was wicked painful. Every day… just fighting to keep any morsel of levity in what could have been a very bleak sick girl narrative, took every ounce of what’s left of…

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When Your Subconscious is a Postal Worker/Mob Boss Named ‘Bruce’…

Morning, Lovelies…

Oh. My. God. What do you do when your subconscious is a postal worker/mob boss named Bruce who chases you around your own damn dreams with copies of a book you would never presume/deign to write?

All night long… Bruce kept showing up with bound galleys of Gotham Girl, Interrupted that had these horrifying Tony Robbins-esque subtitles. Everywhere I looked words like, “success” and “empowerment” were jumping off the cover. It was the worst. And I kept handing the book back to him, trying to explain, “This is not me, Bruce! I’m not qualified to talk about that stuff. I’m not a self-help writer. If anything, I’m a self-destruct one.”

But he wouldn’t listen… this guy is torturing me. Well, I am gonna shut it down, Bruce. I’m making a new rule: I/you can only think/dream about my/your next book—a novel called Muse.Witch.Beast. Repeat after me, mister… Muse.Witch.Beast, Muse.Witch.Beast, and so on.

Happy book birthday to Meaghan O’Connell… So excited to read this one because the ordinary still has so much to teach us all.

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Have a meaningful day, people… xoxo – gg

 

When You Wake Up as a Marvel Supervillain…

It’s a look I’ve seen both my daughters give me so many times. It’s the very same look I gave my own mom. Man, if mothers don’t always get it in the end.

The other day my Biffle pointed out (well before I’d had any coffee) that I was finally a Marvel supervillain on Jessica Jones… I was so ready to be completely delighted even though (in truth) I had trouble getting into Season 1 of the Netflix series mostly because I was trying to get less peeved about everything in life and the last thing I needed at the time was more bitter, bourbon-chugging role models. Alas, this is the villain my BFF sent me…

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Thanks a lot, Marvel…  As the dreaded Alisa Jones, embattled mother of Jessica, an experiment of whiteboy medical hubris, never mind a cautionary icon of female rage, you couldn’t even give me a good suit? No leather? Just some fucking Chico’s casual wear, a poorly tailored coat, and a bad wig? Couldn’t my namesake at least have some product? And why did she have to kill the only righteous sister on the show? Ruth Sunday may not have been everybody’s fave girls’ trip companion, but we needed her. And why couldn’t Tiffany Haddish play the lady trauma surgeon? As a real girl who had her face almost entirely rebuilt just three years ago, I needed me some Tiffany H right about then…

I give Janet McTeer points for trying, but the whole of Season 2 left this exiled mother asking: Okay, so is female rage here totally genetically encoded (mom genes, ha) OR is it more a matter of superpower-gifted-freak status engendering a lifetime of exclusion, estrangement, bullying, and bitter alienation? Some blend fundamental to the female experience? Is this the reason mothers pull back from their adolescent daughters? So that their darlings don’t necessarily become them? All of the above but jeez… were there ever so many brands of lady angst this season…  Between Jeri deciding to completely Armageddon her life after her diagnosis to Trish’s pathologically pathetic power vaping to her own malignant narcissist of a pageant mother… we are an irritated lot. Still, we make it work for us—until it suddenly doesn’t. In all the years that have elapsed since Alisa’s accident, why didn’t Dr. Karl think of trying some PTSD-oriented VR therapies? Com’on, Marvel. Get with the times.

I loved that all the episodes were directed by women, but oof… some of the parallels to my own rag and bone life were palpably cringe-worthy.

Still in exile writing, but happy Pagan, Passover weekends, Lovelies… xoxo – gg