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

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

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

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

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

Have yourself a merry Tenenbaums Christmas…

Dearest one and all,

Season greetings from Gotham… where it is yet another Royal Tenenbaums family Christmas… complete with an enduring cast of characters and archetypes… many of whom you will know from your own families…

– There’s your youngest daughter, who has confused herself with Annie Leibovitz and is stealthily stalking unwitting guests with her new Nikon 9 million… a camera so high def… even your subconscious will feel the need to smile and strike a pose… Somehow though, all the photos make people look like romance novelists.(think: Danielle Steele)

– Then, there’s your waspy drunk uncle who thinks he’s a war hero because he served in the Connecticut National Guard… during Vietnam.

– Your arsonist nephew who always hugs you just a little too long…

– Your oldest child who insists that your spirit animal is in fact a cockapoo. (and not a wolf or a hawk, like you were hoping)

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– Your cousin, the plastic surgeon, whose passive aggressive generosity shines ever-so-bright when he offers to fix that “ski jump you call a nose” and who pointedly touts the recent and dramatic cost reduction of Lipo. (all while appraising your stomach and upper thighs)

And then there’s the 2-day adventure that is cooking Julia Child’s bouef bourguignon. You chose it because 1) you were sick of turkey, 2) afraid of goose and 3) ham gives your chain-smoking sister-in-law a headache…

And here it was…

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To all of this though, there was (and is) an escape, a respite from crazy people and difficult foods… it’s a cold, clear day in Manhattan, out by the Jackie O’ reservoir amid the anonymity of obsessive joggers, dog walkers and old geezers… all of whom are silently rejoicing in the temporary freedom that is Central Park on Christmas day…

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Today at the park

From Gotham… Wishing you a very Bukowski Christmas, one in which your greatness is only handicapped by your laziness, which on a day like today seems entirely appropriate 🙂

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The writer Charles Bukowski. (Charles should go as Bukowski for Halloween. He’s a dead ringer!)

Love actually, A

Doppelgangsters

Ok, I’m pretty sure I just saw Jon Stewart running in Central Park.

He runs so gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that). He just reminds me that the next time I go running, I should practice in front of a mirror first.

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They say Manhattan is a city of doppelgängers. I swear I’ve seen Camille at least three times since I’ve been here. And the other day, I was walking up Broadway from Trader Joe’s and who do I see? This guy:

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Jonah Hill.

He’s on his mobile in the middle of the street and he’s yelling, “I can’t believe you! You can’t take any fucking constructive criticism! You always have to fly off the handle! I can’t fucking believe you…”

And yesterday, I was standing on the corner and who do I see? My DAD. I was getting my coffee and there he was. I had a total nutty. I couldn’t breathe. I started to shake. Oh jesus… what is he doing here? Oh no… (dread) what if he sees my apartment? He’s going to think I still live like a grad student. (and he would be right). See below:

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(I am too short to reach the top shelves)

He’s going to try to buy me furniture… except it won’t be the furniture I want. It’ll be a barcalounger or something of that ilk. And I won’t be able to adequately explain that I have made a vowa solemn vow to only buy artful, authentic pieces that I love (even if I can’t afford them, even if I am not a Rockefeller–I’ll wait. I will wait for the genuine article).

Alas, it was just a dude… aye. Thank god this is still a city of doppelgangsters.

xoxo – gg