The Path of Totality

Hello Lovelies,

How the hell are you? Are you wearing your glasses? It’s been a tough mental health week here and everywhere… Imagine if Angela Merkel were online today bemoaning the removal of Hitler busts, she’d be dragged from her house and offed more quickly than Ned Stark during an HBO hack-a-thon. For a day or two, I was doing all my final edits here. I don’t know who said it first, but finishing this book is like being pregnant with a lawnmower. It’s all large and sharp… and unwieldy… with loads of psychic paper cuts.

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With the return of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, I confess… I SO wanted him to block me. It was like a Girl Scout badge (no, I never quit). I tried everything from damning passive-aggressive buddy texts to scathing Russian cartoons. In truth, these days my cruelty only comes out for a quick jaunt. Between the heat and my crazy neighbor, Marlene, I have acute snark-fatigue.

The thing of it is… even for a mouthy little spitfire who’s still making up for the fact that she was mute in Manhattan for a good long time, I was stunned back into silence this week after the presser. I got on the train all like this:

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Then, I got off the train to this… I haven’t seen such joy in free speech in a while.

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and this:

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And also this… Ah, New Yorkers are a practical lot.

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If only! But I’m with Colbert on this one, I give him until next week. I also predict loads of dancing. For now, I’ll be at Marie’s with this baby.

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Stay rad, stay loud, stay safe.  xoxo – GG

 

 

 

 

Girls Gone Mild

Morning Lovelies,

Remember back when the above was considered bad?

Oh, for those gentler days when you could take a silent drag alongside your repressed, simmering 1960s ice queen of a mother and know that somehow… things were going to be okay… that all the consequences of female appetite, desire, angst, ambition, anxiety, and murky existential despair could be held at bay for 3-5 minutes and then slowly dissipate, wafting away on an ethereal ribbon of smoke. Oh, for a cigarette.

If the alt-reality of the current world… with people hurling trash cans at each other in the streets while our ridiculous supreme leader proves himself to be messier than a woo-woo girl after bottomless mimosas at brunch. Then, there’s endlessly charming douche-bro Elon Musk waxing poetic about his damn Hyperloop… Seriously, does the man not realize? We can’t even get the subway to work in New York City! We’re not building a 29-minute train from here to DC. We just want to get to Brooklyn… If all of this makes you want to shelter in place and stream Yacht Rock, rest assured you are not alone.

[Sidebar: Holy Proustian flashbacks! I finally figured out where my guy “type” comes from… it’s not from pirates after all! It’s from Yacht Rock! When I was 7, apparently I told my mom I was going to marry Kenny Loggins, live on a farm and be his muse. I think I thought I was Stevie Nix??? So much for that plan.]

In any case, if cigarettes and Kenny are not your jam, DO try Plum Sykes’s recent gem Party Girls Die in Pearls, which I devoured it in 2 sweltering days. Lordy, this girl gives good Beach:

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Without blathering on too much… It’s Whit Stillman meets Miss Marple meets Gossip Girl and they all venture to Oxford to solve addressable problems in late 80s couture. Sykes’s intrepid sleuth, Ursula, gives us curiosity without consequences. Initially, some of the Dickensian character names threw the cynic in me, but it’s pure laugh-out-loud escapism where you also learn a little Latin and are equally comforted by both Plain Granny and Vain Granny. Most of all, I just wanted to meet these Girls-Gone-Mild characters again… if only to learn more of their quirks, charms, faults, and traditions. There’s an innocence here that’s so needed in New York right now. It’s also exactly what you want in a crime series, so am looking forward to the next one.

Just a belated antidote for a mess of a week. For now, I leave you with this snap of Sean Spicer fleeing the Whitehouse—most certainly on his way to shacking up with Kenny.

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Stay rad, Lovelies – xoxo – GG

P.S. If you are seeing doubled-up paragraphs in these posts, sincerest apologies. I think it’s something to do with WordPress, so trying to find a web pixie to sort it out.

The Year I Set Myself on Fire

Greetings from The Overlook where I have been in a mad dash to finish my second book, a psych thriller code-named Project G. It’s sweltering out—like Do The Right Thing hot.

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July is the hardest month to stay in love with Manhattan. It’s like year nine of marriage when you really wish he’d just effing clean out the garage (for once) so that you can shoehorn the car in a hair from all of his unfinished manuscripts before it’s the depths of the Arctic winter again. But anytime you so much as even hint at this frog of a task, he starts yelling like Jerry Stiller from Seinfeld. July is usually a time of blatant abjection where all of the city’s humanity shows itself in its boldest, most disturbing hues. Especially on the subway, which is no great shakes right now as I’m sure you’ve all seen. A carnivalesque, pheromone-based mating ritual to be sure!

That said, the city does try its best (above ground) to make things fabulous with arts and culture. Opera practically comes to your stoop with F’Rosé popsicles. Shakespeare in the Parking Lot is the tailgate of the century.

I barely look at my phone, email or social media these days, but then suddenly, out of nowhere, I’ll get a crazy text from Ed saying, “Holy Crapdazzle! Turn on the telly… The world’s a shit-fire!” And so I do, and I’ll see something horrid like a nuclear Cheeto wrestling a logo, which will somehow remind me of the time I set myself on fire 20-odd years ago in grad school. It was the worst. I was living down in the East Village in this tiny 4th-floor walk-up apartment where it used to actually rain through the ceiling whenever my upstairs neighbor took a shower–making so that I actually had to take a brolly in the shower to take my own proper (clean) shower. I was under the most intense deadlines and What. An. Idiot. I was making both tea and coffee at the same time. For some reason, I needed both, and I leaned over the lit burner to grab the sugar (or something) in my highly flammable Wal-mart flannel shirt. “Hmmm, that’s an odd color flame: purple and green” I observed. “Then, holy shit! That’s me on fire!” Pat, pat, pat. Tries to blow it out (big mistake). Forgets the whole “Stop, drop and roll” exercise from 2nd grades and run screaming from your apartment into the grubby hallway, your cheap shirt now almost fully engulfed in flames, only to rip it off like The Hulk and inadvertently show off your latest, most experimental bra choice to all of your scary neighbors.

That’s the world right now. If only Chris Christie could have done like French and worn dark socks with sandals to sunbathe. Then while you could never excuse him, at least you could laugh at him. Come on Christie… you f*ckwad, either DO the right thing… or be the girl on the right.

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Hold on tight, Lovelies.  And don’t lean over any open flames. xoxo – GG

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.

Last week, when it was hot as balls in NYC…

Ahoy lovelies, just a quickie… Last week when it was hot as balls out, I stumbled upon Bridget & Eamon on Amazon Prime and binge-watched the entire thing through the bloody heat wave:

Maybe it’s that I’m old now, or that I’m a narcissistic, oversharing loudmouth, but B&E is without a doubt the funniest thing I’ve seen all year. It’s like they improv the show from room-to-room and just shoot on the fly. I think my favorite episode is when the sun finally comes out in Ireland in mid-season 2.  In any case, if you need a break from the heat or the grim headlines involving our Dorito-hued dildo of a leader, this romp is most certainly the ticket.

Enjoy… xoxo – GG

 

The Longest Day: Time to Bust Out Those Flower Crowns and Druid Dresses!

Happy Solstice Lovelies,

How the hell are you? I just realized we’re going to need a whole lot of Pagan rituals if this cruel, Illuminati, Skull & Bones healthcare bill passes. In the meantime, if you’re around Times Square today, keep your eyes peeled for thousands of people with their bums in the air in down dog for the Mind Over Madness solstice party. Yes, I’ll admit to finding something momentarily erotic about it all until I realized we’re going to need to start making special electrolyte water out of reconstituted boob sweat to keep the planet going. Oy. I can help with that.

And I’m sure I’m not the only one who was disappointed in Pope Francis’s condemnation of yoga. What gives Pope? What happened to all are welcome? Every culture celebrates the solstice in its own way. What happened to the whole acceptance vibe? Cranky.

I also realized if I’m to survive the rest of this year, I need to stop shuffling around the apartment with Warren Ellis hair (my hero) and get to work on the next thing. I have something fermenting. I’m just haunted by a crapload of “Should I haves” and “Is it too lates?” with SPAZ.

Should I have talked more about how when Marlene moved in next door I had to buy sniper earmuffs? She looked at me like I was Dexter with a kill box when I opened the door wearing them. They were only $14 (on Amazon, of course) and I was desperate to quell the sound of her explosively yappy dog, not to mention the boom-boom of the 70-inch flatscreen she mounted on the other side of my bedroom wall? Oh, Marlene…

Should I have recounted the Nancy Drew-style Search Party investigation my BFF Ed and I conducted to get to the bottom of the Marlene mystery? How it ended with me actually meeting someone from the show?

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Is it too late to talk about why epilepsy belongs in the neurodiversity NeuroTribes category along with Autism Spectrum and ADHD, Anxiety, and all the other ways in which we are wired as people?

Is it too late to do work that scares my dad? That’s been my goal all along, but he might be too old by now. I wanted to write a comedic book about having a totally unapologetic relationship with my damaged brain and now I’m having big separation anxiety about it. Does this happen with all first books? I think I need other neurotics to weigh in. David Sedaris? You up? Or is there a Pagan rite or ceremony I can perform today that doesn’t involve so much boob sweat?

Meanwhile, happy solstice everyone and stay cool, you exhausted futurists, you!

xoxo – GG

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

Happy 2017? More like…

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Yes, we’re all still in shock for a variety of reasons… The 2nd Avenue Subway is LIVE. Meanwhile, the Cheeto-elect with his chronic gaslighting and “fabbing” (a.k.a. telling really YUGE lies) keeps everyone in a constant state of dyspepsia…  Best take care to “Memento” your most basic civil rights while you still have them. (Thank you, Sam Bee)

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Millions may lose their healthcare. We lost so much between Hodor, Prince, Bowie, George, Carrie, and Debbie… And don’t get me started on last night’s untimely death of Mary Morstan…  Oh, what have you done to us, Mark Gatiss? Can’t you see? We all just needed a little brightness back in the world? And here you go killing off the smartest woman left on the show and making her darling husband into a cheating cad? Is nothing sacred?

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This year, in lieu of resolutions about ironic taco cleanses and wearing granny undies, I’m recommending a little art therapy, courtesy of an amazing comic illustrator, Gemma Correll (gemmacorrell.com) whose book The Worrier’s Guide to Life is coming out tres soon! In these times of uncertainty, maybe make your number one resolution about self-preservation. Behold… stickers!

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And if you are feeling too weary of the world, a book recommendation to hide out with under the blankets… Olivia Laing’s remarkable meditation: The Lonely City

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You’ll thank me later. Chin up, my lovelies… Resist and stay rad!  xoxo- gg