Laura Dern is Really Good at Being a Shark

Hello, Lovelies,

How the hell are you? It’s been a rollicking few weeks, dear readers! That bigoted sack of Bisquick is still airing his balls in the Whitehouse instead of the Big House, Hurricane Jose is en route to NYC and I turned in a book… the one about going from being a mostly-dead girl… voi-la…

 

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photo: Holly Mckeown

to a mostly-alive girl…

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I still feel like some parts of the book are missing. I keep having these epic middle school dreams where I have a line in some awful 6th-grade pageant but no pants on, which is distracting in the best of cases. Yes, the pants are the pages.

About midway through, I wrote this lazy quip “No more Laura Dern-style meltdowns for me,” and I got this big note back in black Sharpie that simply said, “Is she even known for this?” and I thought holy cats, I am so fucked! My silly book had been bought by smart, literary people who don’t watch television, which I completely, totally get. We should all be reading more, but we’re talking Laura Dern here, people!

George Saunders may have said it best: “A book is like a shark. A shark hasn’t evolved in 40,000 years because it’s still really good at just being a shark. A book is the same.” So is the human brain. It’s still the most efficient storytelling device on the planet, sending all variety of messages from brain-to-face-to-body.

This is where Laura Dern is an especially good shark. I wanted to tweet my editor all these pictures of LD melting down throughout pop culture history. Etsy even makes buttons of them…

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The other funny thing about breaking your face and having your lower jaw torn off like an act-one Stephen King character is that all your surgeons and speech therapists want you to be during recovery is Laura-fucking-Dern because those splendid facial gymnastics she’s famous for actually help you to get better.

Another note I got on the book… was “more emotion” which made me do a full-on spit-take (and I wasn’t even drinking anything). I walk around thinking I’m chocked full of emotion, but with most of the nerves on the right side of my face severed it’s no longer so wildly apparent. My mug is a little inscrutable these days and it’s not only changing my interactions with people, it’s changing my written words as well. I believe that when you stand alone on the precipice of big change, you can either fill the gaping chasm with dread, devastation or drollery. It’s not to say that you’re not afraid, not sad, not homesick for the “dear ordinary” that you knew before, the one all the therapists have you reenacting each day, but you can choose other ways to fill the abyss. I chose drollery.

There was a point in my epileptic life where I probably liked my seizures a little more than I despised them. I know it’s not supposed to work that way. In the current zeitgeist of the differently-abled, you are supposed to stand up, resistdefy, and even hate your chronic condition or illness whatever it may be. But there’s something about my particular brand of seizures that scratches this deep ontological itch I have. There’s an odd satisfaction to them I still can’t name. Why are we the only species that seems to yearn for oblivion?

Yes, I still wake up from each fit thinking “Ugh, not again…” because the crawl back to normalcy is usually such a doozy, but my seizures are also terribly gorgeous, like being caught in a tornado of stars. It’s an instance of overpowering joy that I get a snatch at, which holds almost as much allure as a drug. In this way, I feel like a traitor against the cause to cure the condition. I don’t hate it as much as I’m curious about it and long for another glimpse.

In this way, the grief I feel around epilepsy is strangely deferred, less about me, and more directly related to the fear I’ve caused the people around me. You don’t feel bad for you, so much as you feel bad for how frightened, vulnerable and Laura Dern-like you may have made the people around you feel in the moments when they were watching you thrash and flail around on the ground. It’s their meltdowns you tend to, once you are back and awake.

Maybe that’s the whole point, we’re all Laura D, we’re all really good at being sharks at one time or another, which is how we persist. I’m not sure yet. I think I need to read and stew more.

This week I have fallen head-first into Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere, which is one of those books that just calls out to you at the end of the day as you come in the door. “Read me,” it beckons with its siren’s song.

 

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Ng’s prose flows like water and her witty, wry conversations between siblings are so exactly how whole generations grew up speaking to each other. I highly recommend it for this week’s weather. Or in any kind of weather.

For now, stay rad and hold tight in those crazy winds outside. XOXO – GG

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.

Treason Got You Down? Try Castlevania: The Mental Firewall You So Needed

Sometimes between the MTA and Donnygate and the Naked Lunch-style cockroach that’s invaded your apartment, you just need to build a mental firewall around what’s left of your humanity. I tend to do this with throwback Goldie Hawn movies and feminist critiques of Italian meats (Soppressata is my porn) but last week was monsoon season in Manhattan. so I took to my bed with the new Netflix series Castlevania, which is exquisite.

I feel like the creative process is a sort of wardrobe. Think of the one in C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe except in this case it’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Warren-drobe and it’s empty. So you ask yourself what are you going to hang in it? Your ginormous mahogany wardrobe that feels like the inside of the Tardis or Mary Poppins’ carpet bag?

Well for starters, you could hang some genuine scientific inquiry, oh and some feminist mysticism, a secret society, an Indiana Jones whip, some historically accurate gore, sheep problems, lost love coupled with complex characterizations, and who else but 90s Manga icon… Sailor Moon. Because who doesn’t love a badass superhero transformation that involves a manicure and new boots? And Vlad Jr. is just the SPIT of Tuxedo Mask

Endless episodes possible here. My only regret was that there were only 4, but I hear Netflix expanding to 8 for series 2.

Hurry up and write faster, Warren! Smoke more, drink more, whatever it takes…

Stay rad lovelies, xoxo – GG

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

 

A Stroppy Harridan…

A toast, a toast… it was finally snowing-ish. Or it was yesterday morning in Central Park. (Pic courtesy of Alex Di Stasi)

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Yes, Decima… promised to be a stroppy harridan of a storm…

I bet you’re wondering what that is because I certainly was when my BFF and criminal service animal, Ed, proclaimed me nothing but one at a recent birthday lunch. A fine how-do-you-do…

I’ll confess, my first guess was stroppy harridan: a variant of some hipster-nonsense Christmas cocktail, one that involves artisanal singing… Wassail, wassail… and whatnot. (Thinking about it now, all cocktails should involve singing. We should make it a rule, like diplomatic protocol. Singing keeps drunk people in Mary Poppins mode and prevents them from morphing into a sea of Archie Bunkers, amIright? And we’ve had more than enough Archie this past year. Electors, how about a write-in on Monday…Vote Julie Andrews!)

Breaking it down… “stroppy”… I quite liked. It means irascible and/or easily annoyed. That’s definitely me when lacking actual REM sleep. You know, the kind of deep slumber you get in the early, early mornings, the kind that is fevered and awash in vivid, storied dreams that play out like a Daphne du Maurier novel–complete with Mrs. Danvers lurking. The Victorians referred to it as the “second sleep” and apparently it went away with the invention of the electric light bulb… Damn you, Edison. For me, it’s always SUCH a fortifying sleep that… upon waking, I immediately race into the kitchen with a new musical or book idea, which I then frantically, nonsensically attempt to explain to the dog as I fumble with the coffee-making while he listens politely, trying ever so earnestly not to pee…

“Harridan” seems like a fancy version of a religious ne’er-do-well or someone with an implausible haircut, like Boris Johnson. In fact, it’s a grumpy old woman from the French for old horse. Charming.

I’m not sure what merited this whimsical moniker. Honestly, I don’t think Ed knew what it was either, and for the record, I was super cheery and decidedly un-horse-like given it was my birthday. But right as I left the restaurant, I ran smack into one of those very serious New York City joggers, you know… the kind who runs even when it’s rul cold out. He was wrapped in tinfoil like a baked potato with a ski mask. We were flirting distance apart, trying to avoid each other so naturally, “See-something-say-something” took hold, and I called him a stroppy harridan… to which he replied, “You bet your sweet ass I am!”

And what can I say… it was the quintessential Manhattan moment: a term nobody knows, uttered in an instance of grouchy, unanticipated physical disruption that could have resulted in conflict, but instead resulted in Seinfeldian intimacy. It’s what makes this place, this place.

So, a toast, a toast… To the stroppy harridans, the difficult-sweet people, and storms…

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Keep singing and enjoy the holiday mayhem… I have a book to finish, but lovelies you are my favorite procrastination. Have a day that means something 🙂

xoxo – gg

P.S. If you need to avoid your family for hours upon hours of wrapping or just general brooding… I highly recommend Netflix’s new thriller The OA

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.