Oh, Kafka. You just get me…

Can you be my boyfriend? Together we’ll thrash, thrash, thrash around on the page and in life, then tidy, tidy, tidy until finally a palimpsest. Complete standstill, then you begin again.

At least it’s cool out today and we can all walk to work. I don’t know a single city dweller who wants to venture underground after yesterday’s derailment. Oy. New Yorkers tend to make a religion out of their neighborhoods. Would that we could make a religion out of the subway, the way the French have with the metro and Brits have with the underground…

New York has all these Neverwheres that we should make use of somehow.

Sick-Lit is Giving Me the Vapors

Greetings Lovelies,

How the hell are you?

Can you believe the world today? I feel like we’re all living in an episode of Dr. Who. (No wonder my apartment feels bigger!) Every day is like having a new case of the damn vapors…

Nervous, sweaty well wishes from The Overlook where I just finished the book. The big, long, messy book.

You’d think I’d be jubilant. Instead, I’m pretty much an exhausted husk of a human. A strange, feral being who looks like Sasquatch fathered a lovechild with the-Unabomber. My hair is Origami. And when did I decide to stop wearing a bra?

In my head, where there used to be a book festering, now there’s only an empty windowless room. It’s like I finally moved all my stuff out of that grad school storage locker on the Westside highway. You can still make out the corrosive staining of my melted MacBook on the dusty cement floor that is my brain. For years now, people have been coyly asking, “How’s the book coming along? Done yet?” which is like asking a chronically ill person, “So, how’s the death coming? Dead yet?” Lordy… words are hard.

I know a decent number of writers at this point in my mid-life, and only two warned me about how completely terrible I would feel after I hit send to my editor. Amy Poehler, who said you just get “gray” as it comes down to the wire, and another writer who just turned in his debut novel, and who is now attempting to morph into the marketing machine his publisher needs him to be, except he suddenly found himself entirely without words. Nothing left to say. He’s a husk. This rarely ever happens to me, but my brain parts are wicked tired; I’m late with book reviews, guest posts and multiple other projects I’ve been stalling on for months. But of course, instead of doing any of those things, I hit send in my Outlook and immediately raced out to lunch with the girls.

Where did I go for lunch, you ask? To the 1990’s rom-com queen of all New York restaurants, the quintessential Meg Ryan of eateries: The Loeb Boathouse in Central Park, which used to have totally “meh” food and way too many people from Texas, all wearing shorts and comfortable shoes, and sporting golden rape whistles. It still has a few of those, except the mac and cheese there is now fantastically awesome! It’s like a huge flaming Baked Alaska of carbs and salt and butter fat. So restorative! And the company was fine indeed. I power-walked all the way there listening to Michael Buble to get in the mood, sweaty hair stuck to my neck, but it was SO what the doctor ordered. Lordy…

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It probably doesn’t help that my book, SPAZ: Adventures in Life, Love, and Electricity, tends to fall into the “sick-lit” category. It touches on epilepsy, the fun of breaking my face last year during a seizure and being a mute girl in here the city which is a curious business if you’ve never tried it. When you can’t talk, suddenly 8 million people tell you EVERYTHING. No wonder I’m fried!

Sick-lit is not new. In the Victorian Era, it focused primarily on heroines with tuberculosis. As a popular genre in the 1980’s, it predominantly featured young, sickly white girls who found waify redemption through handsome love interests and who wore makeup so that they could maintain the illusion of wellness until they were either healed or passed away tragically. Narratives of the 1980s also focused on a protagonist’s transformation from nerdy misfit to socially adept girl.

What makes sick-lit so complicated to write is the idea that if one depicts an illness in the wrong way, it might romanticize the condition and this can make things harder for the people actually dealing with the real thing. For my part, by normalizing something like epilepsy, I just didn’t want to diminish it or the surrounding struggles, which can be enormous. I also wanted a better narrative outcome. The electric girl should find agency, love and some degree of funny sanity amid all the thrashing about and ER visits.

In recent years, the voice given to chronic illness is borne out of personal experience and there are a lot of survivor narratives out there. Now, I love Gloria Gaynor as much as the next guy, but I didn’t want to write a survivor narrative because I just longed for some agency for the reader (and for me). I didn’t want a Lifetime Movie of the Week. (No offense to Lifetime, it’s just not my jam.) For me, the story was as much about what went comedically right as what went neurologically wrong. Add to that, my totally inadequate reckoning with both pieces of the pie, and that was what I was going for. I won’t know if it worked for a few years.

In any case, now that I’ve had my Baked Alaska of mac and cheese, it’s time to get to back to fiction, which is always easier for me since, having worked in Advertising for so long, telling big lies feels pretty on-brand.

Also, some big changes coming to GG: a new neurodiversity in NYC series, a store with snarky merch, a book club, a GG events calendar, embarrassing video from the SPAZ tour and some podcast-ish things. It’s all crazy exciting and suddenly making me a tad woozy… My stars, perhaps it’s… the vapors.

Stay rad lovelies, drink rosé and have a meaningful day – xoxo – gg

Why yes, I am a lefty ho…

Hello My Lovelies,

A quick post before the Cheeto-elect places his small, sweaty, orange, pussy-grabbing palm on a bible (leaving a stain, no doubt) and I morph back into a pre-existing condition—epilepsy. (My brain likes to spontaneously combust now and then. A genetic electrical issue, but what can you do?)

It goes without saying that there’s a definite buzz in the city this week. A reckoning humming… as though someone has strung high tension wires from skyscraper to tenement and back again. It’s a mood both distinctly electric and furtive. Like a burgeoning totalitarian regime, people pass each other on the street with expressions of crumpled worry… that say, “Are you one of us? Are you a… ahem… a friend? Oh, you’re not? Okay, no big!”

Just yesterday, I was trudging up Madison to the dentist in the freezing rain for my nine millionth root canal (that I cannot afford) when this homeless man came up to me and said, “Can I just tell you, I really like your boots?”

The snarky, jerky ne’er-do-well in my head replied, “Well then, clearly, I need to do some shopping!” (Only because these boots are from Costco. That’s right, the brand is “waterproof”)

But because New York is so bizarro-feeling these days, instead I said, “Thank you?”

And then, he launched into his whole elevator pitch, which when you’re a writer you do a lot of… but in my desire to be empathetic, I forgot that I still can’t make the right faces (post-accident) so I can mostly only look either terrified or uber cynical.

I must have looked really scared because a cabbie stopped traffic and called out to me, “Hey, are you okay??? Is he bothering you?”

And lo, in a voice that came out just like Greta Gerwig’s, I called back, “No, he just likes my footwear!” I’m a lefty ho, who’s as scared as the next person, right now.

But oy… it made me think that with all the protests and marches going on this week and going forward… we need to proceed thoughtfully, with compassion for those who think differently (or maybe not at all ) and keep a steady eye trained on intersectional politics… reversing stigma of all kinds, refraining from getting our collective dander up, being more inquisitive of each other and diffusing with humor wherever possible.

You just never know who is going to turn out to be a pal…

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If you plan to protest or march in NYC at any of the many efforts, just some handy tips!

Yours in solidarity, xoxo – gg

Delicate Flowers…

Here in Gotham, we’ve had our first real snow day… complete with people tiptoeing around the city on sidewalks made of eggshells. As I was padding home from the library yesterday, I could hear piano notes floating from a modest brownstone on 81st, carried out over wafting snowflakes… the only sound in the street, the sound of someone practicing her or his art. And it reminded me of why I’m also here.

I’ve been going through a grim patch lately… a romantic, political and societal malaise. Clearly, I need some Gemma Correll… and to read Roxane Gay’s new book… Difficult Women

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Yes, I’m still taking the election personally… With the threatened repeal of Obamacare and nothing to replace it? So many people I know rely on it. And just the very idea that America would choose a sexist, racist, bigoted, lying, non-tax paying, nuclear Cheeto over a competent, experienced woman… it still smarts. Do they not like us that much? I want to see difficult women win. Lord knows, I am one. Doesn’t take a Gallup poll to figure that one out. My issues have issues. Epilepsy, anxiety, a fear of juice. A mugger once tried to take my purse and I argued that it didn’t go with his outfit. I wanted us to win for once. I wanted to keep that damn purse.

When my daughters and I were younger, and we were sad post-le-divorce, we’d play OGT in the car… One Good Thing… Roxane’s book is today’s. We have to stay Difficult Women. Stay rad and resist.

xoxo – gg

F/M/K: Tr*mp, Darth Vader, Pizza Rat?

Words and images by the incomparable Warren Ellis and Tula Lotay

What do you think Gothamites?

Imma say:

F*ck Vader: He’s probably into some kinky shit that would make for solid, non-three-breasted alien Sci-Fi material… a la Warren Ellis.

Marry Pizza Rat: We’re set to elect a fluorescent rodent. At least this little guy isn’t overly chatty and brings home something I like. (dollar slices)

Def K*ll: the cos-playing nuclear turnip who says HE ALONE speaks for you and that HE ALONE will save America. No way Jose!

I KNEW there was a reason I brought up Del Close and long form improv comedy the other day, and maybe this makes me a little (or a lot) evil, but you’ve got to ask yourself, can a bloated butternut squash improvise for four whole years? We may soon find out…

I know yesterday I was supposed to talk about Step Three: applying the lessons of Jason Bourne to address imminent danger, but right now…  running over rooftops while mindfully channeling one’s heretofore undiscovered Krav Maga fighting techniques feels like waaaaay too much in the heat… I vote for binge-watching Stranger Things on Netflix and checking out Ruth Ware’s awesome new thriller The Woman in Cabin 10. Both are good fun.

For now, keep cool and stay rad.

XOXO – GG

Ps… No fluorescent rodents (or anything of that ilk) were harmed in the making of this blog post. It’s all just silliness… xoxo

The White Walkers Are Coming… Quick, What’s Our Safety Word Again?

“Rhubarb, golf, prostate, prostate…” (30Rock)

We’re about to hand the keys to the White House over to a cray-cray, uber-racist, homophobic, disability-hating Oompa-Loompa who has no intention of actually leading. It’s like a life-on-fire montage, and no amount of tweeting or blogging will fix it.

Re: the Melania moment. To give her the ultimate benefit of the doubt… a “worldview” is what you do when you’re alone in the room… when you think no one else is watching… Maybe Larry Wilmore is right…at least she espouses the same values as Michelle Obama??? Naah, they’re just a bunch of lazy, entitled f*ckwits. To quote Rory Albanese, “This is how hot girls get through high school,” which is wrong, wrong, wrong Rory… You doofus-ass crush of mine. And, you know what they say about the “entitled”… “They don’t get a break… They just get broken.” (Jon Westenberg)

But ugh… I put myself through college working as a baker… I know I said I was a dangerous girl, but after Day Wine and Tina, I think we might need Step 2 to be about Del Close and long form improvisation…  see the brilliant: https://www.amazon.com/Truth-Comedy-Improvisation-Charna-Halpern/dp/1566080037

And for hot-as-balls New Yorkers and thinkers everywhere, we need more of this guy from today’s Gothamist:

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Tomorrow: Step 3 – Time to Get Your Bourne on…  For now, stay rad.

XOXO – GG

 

The Dangerous Girl’s Guide to Well… Danger

cartoon by the incomparable Allie Brosh

 Are you all holding very still?  Well, stop it right this instant!

Yes, it’s been a while… A two-month hiatus during which I undertook a death march of work with all the discipline of a randy squirrel.

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Now, nearly every corner of the planet seems to be on fire . A sociopathic Cheeto is taking over the country to a Queen soundtrack, and we seem to be collapsing in on ourselves like a big black hole of horrifying irony that would stump even Stephen Hawking. A small, dangerous world it is…  replete  with #FamousMelaniaTrumpQuotes…

Here in the city, where it’s hot as balls… I am happy to report that New York’s finest has finally nabbed a character known only as Poop Guy. Yes, this was a guy who recently terrorized New Yorkers (specifically those on the Upper East side) by running up to them on the street and shoving a bag of poo down their snazzy Outdoor Voices yoga pants and screaming, “You’re a shitty person!”

He was apprehended without incident… no gun violence to speak of… no choke holds necessary. A shrink at Bellevue described him as “F*cking deranged” (a clinical DSM-5 term, no doubt) and everything went back to being simply on fire–minus the scat.

Is this all we’re good for? Why do we continue to hold still and do nothing? I feel like this is exactly the type of thing Elie Wiesel (RIP our hero of bearing witness) would say, “No way, Jose!” to… Don’t you?

I have never been one to shy away from embarrassing myself in front of ridiculously accomplished people… from revealing my stockpile of sins, shortcomings, bad grammar and neuroses like a scantily clad magician’s assistant  (breasts akin to Shar-Pei puppies). I propose we start spit balling… bigtime:

Step 1 – Day Wine and Difficult People

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I’ll be back with more tomorrow. Dangerous times call for dangerously thoughtful measures. For now, let’s all try to use our own words and remember… “It’s not them. It’s you.”

XOXO – GG

First Prince, Now Hodor… What Next?

Hello Lovelies,

Is it just hot as balls out, or what? A perfect day to binge watch by the AC while doing Blogilates on the side (anything to avoid the dreaded writer’s bum)

A bunch of you have written in to ask what I thought of Prince and then Game of Thrones last week… what with Hodor saving the day in an epic, grand mal time seizure in which he is trapped in a last-moment loop before his own horrible death.

I spend a lot of time these days thinking about how to transcend the niche of epilepsy. Either through humor, the personal essay or any kind of narrative…  and I can honestly say… I don’t know what I think. I cried with the rest of Gotham last Sunday night.

On the one hand, Hodor has been portrayed to us over the years as a giant broken simpleton–without high cognitive function. A person with no there, there. (And Bran has been a little turd to him all too often)

On the other, the joy of serialized TV is that with each episode, we, the viewers, are given the opportunity to constantly correct what we thought we knew and that’s super fun. Our curious human brains love it.

Last Sunday, we corrected our knowledge of Hodor’s inner life in a big way. For me, the real tragedy was that there was a there… there all along.

I want to believe the boundary between being able and disabled is becoming increasingly porous, but my concern is that without a horribly tragic demise… the respect, the tiny openings just aren’t there. I too chuckled at all the memes that followed GoT, but as an out spaz… I don’t want to be a doorstop… just because I’m still getting all my words back and am stuck in a bit of a time seizure, myself.

Hodor talk pretty some day?

Still noodling over it… Stay rad and cool. XOXO – GG

For more on the troubling ethics of Hodor… see this completely compelling piece in The Atlantic Monthly.

 

UnReal Estate… Or What to Do When Oscar Isaac Becomes Your Worst Nightmare!

Hello my  Lovelies!

I don’t know if it’s the weird weather out or the fact that I am crazy-close to finishing Project Ur (thank you very much Warren Ellis for that spiffy term) or if it’s just the current zeitgeist of the city… but I keep having THE WORST real estate dreams… No joke! In them, earnest hipsters with neatly trimmed triangle beards, and ominous cats keep chasing me all over the city… and NOT in a good way.

Last night, they chased me right out of my apartment to a Westin and then to an awful Marriott with nasty bedspreads (sorry Marriott brand). The desk clerk there was also an Oscar-type, and HE kept telling me that I was actually booked at a boutique hotel called The Lucky (some ACE poseur in my dream) but I couldn’t ever seem to find it. It was like The Walking Dead, but instead, the Oscar Isaacs all had these credentials and liquid assets… And they were way better writers.

My BFF Ed (depicted here below in dog form–whose dog is this, btw?) keeps telling me…

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I need to desensitize myself to the Game of Thrones that is New York real estate by listening to this podcast: There Goes the Neighborhood and that it’s just like check-in at an Italian airport… anything goes! To this I say…

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Thanks for allowing the dream rant… and thanks to all of those who wrote in last week agreeing that we SHOULD INDEED have Neil DeGrasse Tyson as a write-in running mate! It makes so much sense, right??? But how do you get creative with housing in our/your fair city when Oscar Isaac starts to give chase with a cat in hand? Drop me a line 🙂

Ok, back to Project UR… even though it’s cloudy out and there are buildings… make sure to wear sunscreen and be nice to each other. (I swear, you’ll thank me later.)

XOXO – GG

 

Where the hell is Neil DeGrasse Tyson? And why can’t HE be President?

Or at least a running mate? We need some science in here NOW! (Especially the city.) I’m with Jenny Lawson … I am SO SICK of Mercury in being in retrograde. We need to do something! Communication,  writing, business stuff, technology, the cloud and mass transit are all so batshit screwy this week. BUT before we go ahead and blow up Mercury, I feel like we need to get Neil to tell us what the planetary environmental repercussions would be. Because I’m thinking we might NOT NEED to actually blow it up. Instead, we could just put one of those James Bond Moonraker or Thunderball jet packs on it (but a super ginormous one, powered by dark energy) and simply nudge Mercury into moving in the right direction again.

Ed says both Jenny and I are ridiculously wrong and that what we (and all astro-types) really need is corrective lenses. (He also thinks Neil for anyone’s running mate is a swell idea.) I already wear glasses, so I still vote for Neil to fix things with planets. Or at least design the glasses…

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Stupid universe… Get your act together Mercury. You’re being like one of those dumb tourists on the Central Park reservoir path… Totally walking the wrong way with selfie-sticks fully extended and irritating the hell out of the rest of us. Grrr….

Happy Weekend Everybody. Enjoy the Columbus Avenue Street Fair and its tons of books 🙂

XOXO -GG