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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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

This Guy…

Hello, Lovelies,

Oy, I meant to post this yesterday. Meet John Oliver… or John Deer Oliver—named after a tractor and a national treasure of a comedian. Yes, it’s Day 17 of my writer’s retreat. I was on my way to the compost heap when I ran into this guy. He’s a very amiable, chill young buck. Visits every day around 4 pm and seems to like NPR.

But oh, nature… nature doesn’t feel terribly funny compared to the city’s characters. I confess I am totally homesick for this feisty little old lady who hangs out protesting the Starbuck’s on the corner every weekend. She’s the absolute spit of Elaine Stritch and she always has an old school “We-are-pleased-to-serve-you” actual paper cup of coffee with the actual New York Times spread across at least three tables. No one seems to mind. I hope she’s still alive when I get back. When I left, it was like this because of all the wacky weather.
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The other morning I came outside up here and said, “Hello, everyone…” to the animals. Thankfully, no one said hello back. It’s a crowd consisting of John Deer, a completely pleasant beaver I’ve named “Gary” along with a baby squirrel since dubbed “Janice” and some wickedly indecisive geese who can’t figure out which way to fly. This is Gary… He’s eating a yam.

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Ok, I am stalling on a Wednesday deadline, but I miss you all. Stay rad… xoxo – GG

It’s 2018. Where’s My Sandwich?

Hello, Lovelies… How the hell are you?

I just read that Eartha Kitt had a threesome with Paul Newman and James Dean. (It was the old girl’s birthday this past week) Of the nookie, she remarked, “That time back in my dance studio ranks as one of the most celestial experiences of my life. Those two beauties transported me to heaven. I never knew lovemaking could be so beautiful.”

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“Good God,” I texted a friend, “I need to completely rethink my life choices.”

“Can I please have my cause of death be listed as ‘sandwiched between James Dean and Paul Newman’?” came her swift reply.

Hells to the yeah! They can put it right there on my tombstone. I won’t even blush. Why should I? It’s 2018. Where’s my sandwich? We have a president who likes to be spanked with his daughter’s face.

And, would that there were a way to extract that monstrous ego of his, dry it like a root vegetable, grind it into a fine powder and snort it… if only to get through the rest of what’s coming.

Isn’t it convenient when crippling anxiety doubles as your daily cardio? I don’t know about you but I have to get all my news from McSweeney’s just to keep from having a goddamn seizure on the Q train these days. In the meantime, I am conjuring up a call sheet for Project G to shoot this summer. The cover reveal for Gotham Girl, Interrupted should be any day now… and when not marching I actually managed to fly through the below tome over the weekend:

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With clean, fluid prose you’ll devour, this stunner had descriptions of agoraphobia so vivid, I wondered if Finn had personal experience with the condition. (Anyone?) Add to this… all the references to badass ladies of suspense classics like Vertigo and Rear Window and it’s the perfect escape from our ongoing Black Mirror existential hellscape. I heartily recommend…

Okay, New York is noisy tonight and I must away to toil but stay rad, stay sane, and above all stay safe… XOXO – GG

Call of the Wild (From Siri With Love)

Hello, Lovelies! Don’t you LOVE waking up to a mean old white guy reckoning???

I also love that it’s finally cold enough in the city for me to wear my va-jay-jay coat! This is actually a super soft mom-coat that I got from Uniqlo last year—on sale. I call it that because it’s literally as soft and warm and great as the inside of a vagina. It’s like wearing one around your whole person. In fact, Uniqlo, you should really just re-brand the coat as that. (Just my two yen)

I don’t know about you but every now and then, I have these Liz Lemon-style montage moments where I decide to take charge of my life! Usually, they involve deciding to eat fewer cheese curls or to stop dating guys who look like pirates or to stop putting off some irksome chore around the house.

Yesterday’s montage manifested as finally deciding to clean the bugs out of the big overhead light in the kitchen. Ordinarily, this is a two-person job since a) I am a chick with limited upper body strength and b) I really don’t like bugs at all. Anything that skitters freaks me the fuck out. I once had to stop working on a horror film because just writing the death-by-bug scenes bothered me too much. But I’m feeling pretty boss these days after finishing the book, so there I am in the kitchen, on the step ladder, whispering to myself: “I’m not afraid, I’m not afraid, I’m in charge here. It’s just a bunch of little bug corpses. I was a Girl Scout blah-dee-blah…”

And I’m easing the unwieldy light panel down from the ceiling when my sock catches on a nail on one of the ladder’s steps and I start to fall backward. As I’m falling, I peer up over the edge of the light panel and the dead bugs (one of which includes a mid-sized Manhattan cockroach) are all sliding toward my wide open mouth which is, of course, now shouting, “Fuck, fuck, fuuuuuuuuuck…!!!”

At the same time, my phone, which is plugged in on the kitchen counter, blinks to life and Siri says, “Alisa, I would NEVER speak to you that way!”

And I’m so shocked by her out-of-the-blue, on-command humanity that I do this twisting cat-like sproing off the ladder, right out of my socks and land fine while also missing the whole mouthful of bugs. (Phew!)

Thank you, Siri, for the unexpected tone check? I’ll so take scolding over critters.

The last time I got that up close and personal with wildlife was when I was dealing with a band of very brazen raccoons in Glen Ellen, California. The artsy, walkable village some fifty miles North of San Francisco in the heart of the Sonoma wine country was once home to Jack London. At the behest of some dear friends, I’d gone there to hide out after two grim reconstructive surgeries. I wanted to write about what it felt like to be monstrous. I certainly looked the part back then. Because of the nature of my accident, I’d broken a number of teeth, but I had one tooth–a pointy canine–that stuck out sideways, almost perpendicular to the others. So deeply rooted down into the bone are human canines, there was no fixing it or even extracting it until the rest of my shattered face and jaw healed. For the time being, I was White Fang, living in Jack’s town near what was once known as Wolf House.

I wanted to make some wholesale changes in my life starting with finally getting a handle on my seizures. Alone in Glen Ellen, with only my despair, a bunch of heat-seeking raccoons, and my kindled brain for company, I started to re-read To Build a Fire, London’s seminal short story. There’s a scene where the character is beating his fist against the side of his leg to get feeling back and survive. I so related to that bit—the regaining of feeling or at least feeling more human than wild. I was worried I might not. Still, I wrote and wrote right to the very edge of my fear that winter. I am profoundly grateful to the family who allowed me to be a writer-in-residence there. With the recent spate of devastating wildfires in Glen Ellen, Napa, St. Helena, and Santa Rosa I just hope everyone is refinding their footing amid flashes of unexpected humanity–though not necessarily from Siri.

Stay rad, Lovelies and have a human day – xoxo – GG

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