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!

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

 

In the City That Never Sleeps, You Will Send Notes Like This…

… at least once during your tenure living here.

It will no doubt be to a couple you actually really like or wanted to like (before their make-up nookie scared you off.) And as much as you will pen the note out of neighborly courtesy, you will also send it as a means of procrastinating because errrmagerrd… Writing a book is crazy hard. No wonder folks hightail it to the country in a sweaty attempt to channel the ghost of E.B. White in his boathouse. No man (or woman) ever looked more at ease in what he/she is doing.

No person ever looked more at ease with what he/she was doing.

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Wishing you all a happy Monday… no matter what boathouse you find yourself in.

XOXO – GG

Last, Lazy Days… And an Awesome Ashley Opportunity!

The air was SO CRISP this morning, it reminded me that our 2 days of actual New York City autumn will soon be upon us!

The whole prospect of it has me craving domestic order like a Labrador in heat… I want to magic eraser my entire apartment (along with select portions of my life and the dog). Dust bunnies begone! I am SO ready to alphabetize my books…

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And so it just occurred to me that quite soon (read: NOW) there is going to be a HUGE glut of very contrite displaced males… all in a metropolitan area with an EXTREME shortage of quality pre-war apartments. Lads, do I have a list of chores for you…

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Hmmm…  let’s think about requirements…

  • A strongish design aesthetic.
  • Knowledge of power tools (esp. a belt sander) and electric.
  • Good grammar essential–must know the difference between you’re and your, it’s and its, etc.
  • Moderately gainful employment, but you needn’t be a Rockefeller…
  • It would help if you looked a bit like a pirate or Collin Firth (perhaps, when he was more of a whippersnapper–none of  this latest Kingsman malarky).
  • And… if you weren’t terribly needy or fussy, that’d be fine. No vegans.
  • Must like books, jazz and annoying dogs.

There, I think that’s about it…

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

The envelope… if you please

In the words of another funny writer I can’t remember right now… Imma let you finish Harper Lee… Because I got somethin’ good comin’! I wrote so much yesterday… Words I actually like (for a change)!

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This does not happen often–especially when writing for TV. I used to have a real beef with writers like Annie Dillard (grrr…) … getting awards for ambling around creeks and blathering on about bugs…. so I’ll avoid her whole bit about killing one’s darlings, and just say that TV writing’s a lot like skeet shooting… you can’t get too precious about your clay ducks or you are as screwed as a hot trannie hooker during Fleet Week… Mixed metaphors… weak… Aaron Sorkin would so shoot my duck. Most of my decent writing happens al fresco this time of year. E.B. White once wrote, “In summer, the city contains (except for tourists) only die-hards and authentic characters… the town has a somewhat relaxed air, and one can lie in a loincloth, gasping and remembering things.” It is so exactly that… 75, the faint scent of piss and delicious hot dog water on the breeze… My be-suited neighbor is lounging luxuriously 2 doors down on his stoop. Jacket off, cigar in hand, he still wears a bright pink bow tie from the office. He nods cordially to me… lighting up. This is his Friday ritual. I attempt a smile, but make no real concerted effort to disrupt his stinky bliss with smalltalk. Instead, I turn toward the park. Walking the Jackie O reservoir is where I do my best writing. I used to irritate the heck out of an old squeeze with these walks. He always wanted me to jog with him… and talk.  Oof… it was the worst… I could never quite explain to him that it’s not that I’m lazy… i’m really, truly not… it’s the envelope I would end up with at the end of every one of these solitary sojourns. Just clears my head like nothing else…making room for new words and it pays the bills. Sometimes. Across the street now, it is noisy and cheerful as a large-and-in-charge mama shouts to her sproinging tot… “Pull yo pants up baby boy! We don’t want yo hope and glory showin!” Just then, my dry cleaner sidles up and we exchange pleasantries… He tells me I still sound like Kirk Douglas.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MAY 08:  Actor Kirk Douglas presents onstage at the Anti-Defamation League Centennial Entertainment Industry Awards Dinner Honoring Jeffrey Katzenberg at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on May 8, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Michael Kovac/WireImage)

I guffaw, tell him to f*ck off and hail Spartacus… and then I continue on. Happy long weekend everyone 🙂 xx – gg

Mother of Dragons…

I love them. I hate them. I love them… ghyaaaaagh!!!… I’m home from the hospital and my neighbors across the yard are barbecuing this:

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It’s summer in the city and total Rear Window olfactory torture… I have not had solid food since April 10th… How many days is that? I did, however, wake up on the table after 11 hours and write this:

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I can feel my face! And despite being mute and meatless, I’m not wasting away in total squalor–as several of you have suggested… The ladies made me decorate. We went with girly library meets Wes Anderson:

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with some serene mixed in…

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Also, I decided it’s time for a role model changing of the guard. Over the years, I’ve had everyone from Nora Ephron… to La Femme Nikita… to Nora Charles (The Thin Man), but after a truly horrific NYC hospital stay, followed by a nightmare call from the head of school that one daughter just set the new science lab ablaze trying to convert her iPhone to a dark matter detector… I think I may need to step up the level of bad ass required to get through the days ahead.

Marvin, my queen from Queens, insists there is nothing more dangerous (and therefore more bad ass) than a single mother… He cites examples to an imaginary jury in my living room…  Sarah Connor, Erin Brockovich… Medea (wrong) but I say there is… A single mother of dragons:

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This is what I need right now.

Oof… my mouth hurts… At least, there’s that… Hooray for that 🙂

xoxo – 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

Spaz… and the City

I can’t write. I have a whole legal pad of ideas, but here’s what my brain is saying to me right now:

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it’s just trying to be helpful.

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And so it keeps talking…

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cartoons by the amazing Allie Brosh – hyperboleandahalf.com

I decided to talk to my dry cleaner about it. I tell him the latest goings on in my life (all mostly happy with a bit of upheaval last week). As I recount the highs and then a big low, he scowls and interrupts, “Has it ever occurred to you that you might be avoiding your destiny? That you might be having these things because you’re not writing about them?”

My dry cleaner is talking about my seizures. (the “upheaval” I was referring to a few sentences ago) I had a big one last week–a grand mal–alone in my apartment. It sucked.

“Helloo… What if I don’t want this as my destiny?” I quip, defiantly.

“Hellooo… You don’t get a choice. That’s why it’s destiny, dummy.”

He has a point. It’s an obvious one, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it, and it certainly doesn’t mean I have to write about it here.

You see, I’d promised myself that I wouldn’t write about my epilepsy on this blog as it can be kind of grim–the whole rolling around on the ground thing with bystanders… all standing by and freaking out and calling 911 (even though it’s not usually necessary for me). Then, there’s me… waking up with no memory of myself, or anyone else, even my closest friends… who are you people? No really, people have said I look at them, like I’m Jamie Lee Curtis looking at Michael in Halloween (but with better hair). And sometimes, I wake up looking like a prize fighter–i.e., black eye, concussed and slurring my words like a super drunk Muhammad Ali. (again, with better hair)

It can be a real buzzkill… But it’s actually one of the main reasons why I now live in NYC… There’s no driving required. Taxi guys love me. There’s delivery of pretty much everything you could ever want or need (including a really rad wig that once helped me escape my ex-husband’s attorneys) and if anything happens while you’re out and about, there are plenty of people around you who will most likely care enough to stop and help. New Yorkers are nicer than people give them credit for.

Still, it took me a while to come out to my dry cleaner. It’s the litmus test for all true friends. Anyone who would reject you out of hand for something so random as a seizure is an automatic turd in my book.

My dry cleaner commiserates, shaking his head, “What’d that neurologist on Youtube say?”

“All the electrical impulses in your brain align and synchronize. It’s like a perfect storm, but in your brain and without George Clooney.” I know this line by heart.

I haven’t had a  seizure in over a year. The day after it happens, I tend to mope around the house and watch youtube videos of other people having seizures, so that I can wallow in self-pity. I’m also just wicked curious as to what I look like. It’s a little cocktail of anthropology and vanity that always passes within a day. This time, however, the malaise has lingered.

“You need to cheer up blondie.” My dry cleaner pulls a ziplock freezer bag out from under the counter. Inside it are lots of other smaller ziplock bags with different types of pills in them. It’s like a tangled yarn ball of prescription drugs.

My dry cleaner, my dealer…. He presses a little yellow pill into my hand.

“What’s this?” I feel my brow furrow in suspicion.

“Klonapin … Helps ya think straight.”

“What else do you have there?”

He rattles off a dozen names that aren’t really names. Suddenly, he is a pharmacy–a veritable CVS without the line, the ‘tude or the overwrought suicide music they always play:

(Btw, Joe Pizzulo, you are so bangin’!)

“Look here girly, if you’d fallen the other direction last week, you’d be the fucking English Patient. You need to relax.”

“When did you read that book? I thought you were into the whole trashy, Neo-Noir thing?”

“I am,” he confesses, “but every now and then even I have to step it up from a literary standpoint.”

He’s right. Being the English Patient would suck. All that oozing… the lack of a nose. Even if I’ve never been that fond of my anglo ski jump of a profile, I’d take it over looking like a mummified Ralph Fiennes.

“We have to find you a nice Jewish boy who can help danger-proof your house and keep an eye on you. New York’s full of them.”

“I liked the last guy,” I protest. “He was funny… and he brought me toast and coffee and didn’t mind if I got crumbs in the bed.”

“Feh…” My dry cleaner waves the very idea of toast guy away as if he were a gnat. “Take a Klonapin and embrace your destiny as a spaz, baby, I guarantee… you’ll be able to write again.”

I haven’t taken the Klonapin, but words are once more starting to happen…

xoxo – gg