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

 

 

 

 

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Homesick For Another World?

Hello Lovelies,

Here we are again… weathering still another week of not-so-subtle brutalities of the world. I don’t know about you, but I have yet to bleach the image of Steve Bannon as some kind of auto erotic yogi from my mind’s eye.

Since last we spoke, the nation has no doubt unclenched its universal anus over the scary healthcare repeal, the Mooch has come and gone faster than New York Fashion Week and with a far less pleasant finale. Who in his right mind blow-dials The New Yorker? The whole script strains credulity and possesses all the trappings of a melanin-deprived telenovela.

Of course, telenovelas and soaps are governed by the three T’s: trauma, talk, and tears. Something big happens to a character. She or he texts/calls a frienemy to recount it. The two make a rendezvous to review the particulars again upon which tears ensue. Then, the director shouts “Cut! Everybody safely back to one,” and they go again. The one rule of the telenovela writer is to TELL, don’t bother to show, primarily because telling is fast (and cheap) to crank out on a daily basis. And yet, the above bottle does not seem quite big enough for even the fate-and-fury writers of the current Whitehouse.

Yes, all the telling and retelling inoculates us from trauma, which gives some solace, because no one in a telenovela is ever permitted to be content for more than oh say… 3-5 minutes. If you meet your soulmate in a soap script, he’ll be in a serious accident and not recognize you the very next day. As soon as he recovers his memory and haltingly utters your name from the hospital bed, his identical long-lost cousin will arrive on the scene to set him up as the Patsy in a hideous crime, only to have another guy who has secretly adored you for forever but whom you’ve kept in the friend zone, selflessly sleuths his way into getting your amnesiac soul mate exonerated, just as you then instantly become the target of Russian oligarch money launderers.

Things repeat until you hit a critical mass of tens of millions of viewers all mesmerized by a narrative wrap-up that somehow satisfies their deep collective longing all while morphing into a new set of miseries. Sometimes the tears get extra-physical and you even have Joan Collins and Linda Evans fight-clubbing it out in a lily pond… that was something to put the kids down early for.

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But doesn’t all of it make you homesick for another world? (not the soap opera itself) but an actual other world? Hello, Brian Greene? Where is string theory when we need it?

I’ve been trying ever so hard to see the world through book-colored glasses since I am unable to run away to France with its nation of cheese geniuses and handsome statesmen who appreciate older blonde ladies. With this in mind, I’ve been reading Ottessa Moshfegh’s collection of stories with the same marvelous title.

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These existential vignettes are like going to that dirty old dive bar out on the far edge of town, the one you never stopped loving. Maybe you found your name scrawled in a bathroom stall there with some pithy, nasty hyperbole that did you proud. Maybe it’s the kind that serves up a sweet-bitter cocktail with just enough orange oil in between laugh-out-loud rants. Moshfegh’s voice is a dark, funny razor cutting away at oh-so-human foibles. The characters are pimply, brash, wildly sullen and then whisper-sweet-tender. It’s uncomfortable at times, but there’s also a quietude in this book that runs completely counter the current melodramas of our world. You’ll fly through reading it and you’ll remember how you are all the good and all the bad rolled up in one. You virtuous, tasty taco, you.

As I write this, something else crazy is probably happening. I can’t look without another round of George Benson. Some of you have written to ask if I have forgiven McCain for his voting acrobatics and the short answer is: I haven’t. I don’t want any one white guy having that much power over our healthcare… not now, not ever.

Stay rad, Lovelies – xoxo – GG

P.S. Is this not the best business card ever? These were the real mavericks of last week.

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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

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.

Cocktail Party Syndrome: NYC and Pathological Friendliness

Hello, Lovelies! Happy Monday… Are you awake yet?

This, just in. After all these years, I’ve finally figured out what’s wrong (or right) with me. I have Williams syndrome, AKA “Cocktail Party Syndrome”. No, this is not about my losing all my girly hormones and slowly morphing into a duplicitous Brian Williams evening news anchor-type, but rather it is about the wickedly interesting book I am reading by Jennifer Latson: The Boy Who Loved Too Much. Don’t be put off if you think the title sounds like a Lifetime movie of the week, it’s SO NOT the vibe.

The reason I like this book is not solely because I saw so much of myself and my daughters in it, it’s because I also saw so many New Yorkers in it—especially in the summer when all the diehard weirdos and eccentrics come out. People think New Yorkers aren’t friendly and it’s so not the case. Ours is a city where there’s so much day-to-day forced intimacy, we’re just trying to give each other a little space. I try to observe this custom, but it wasn’t always the case.

Once upon a time… when I was a little 4-year-old twerp back in the 1970s, my clueless hippie-billy parents would take us to the most racist restaurant in all of America. (I’ll tell you more about that later) So there I would be… totally ready, hyperactively bouncing from right foot to left foot and back to right, while a pastel-clad middle-aged hostess named Ruth scanned the floor for an open table. But Ruth had nothing on me.

As I would see strangers getting up from their mostly-finished meals, I would zip past my parents and the befuddled Ruth with her laminated menus and her toilet brush hair, and RACE toward the unwitting, grown-up patrons. Extending a hand like a friendly politician at a church social, I’d grin genuinely amazed up at their perplexed faces and exclaim, “How on earth did you know?!”

And then, I would slide like a batter into home plate right into their empty vinyl booth and start eating and drinking the leftover food on their plates. Yep.

“Pancakes and…” Sipping from the random stranger’s straw, “Vanilla Coke for breakfast! This is EXACTLY what I wanted!”

Of course, my horrified tiny bird of a mother would chase me down, flying past Ruth, my dad, and the bemused diners, chirping something like, “Holy sh*t, she’s acting just like a Starling!” and/or “You have to have better boundaries, little one!”

Starlings, I was always taught were the most charming but also the most troublesome birds in the ecosystem. They nest in all the wrong places. They occasionally cause planes to crash. Over the years, this lack of neurogenetic coding, my Starling coding as I called it, would make me vulnerable to a HEAP of issues and opportunities, but I have to say I just love Eli (the boy Latson shadowed) and I just love this book… probably too much. I write about NYC being the neurodiversity capital of the world. It’s cocktail party syndrome and everything in between. It’s books like Latson’s that we need more of these days, and kids like Eli we need to make sure can make their entrance.

“How on earth did you know?”

Thank you for writing this, lady! Stay rad – xoxo – GG