Fires, Dream Logic, and Weeding with Parker Posey…

Hi there, Lovelies,

How the hell are you? Here’s a photo from the fires (taken by the exquisite Claire Kimple). Such a powerful, quiet reminder of the ‘tude very much needed right now.

I’m sure it’s all the scorched earth… but I keep having these wildly visceral time travel dreams where I’m plunked down throughout life at my different old homes. The last one was in Vermont at a house I’d really hesitated buying. In the dream, I’m there in full-body-sensory-Technicolor-smell-o-vision. When I land, it’s always very Dr. Who and hapless as I’m typically in the yard one or two houses over. It’s usually snowing and I have to clomp back over to our house in my jams where I’m suddenly having this very David Mamet-style conversation with the new residents about having lived there eons ago. I hesitated over buying this particular house because our kids were still dinky and it was too close to the road for my anxious-mom taste. In the dream, the new people have redone the kitchen all wrong—excoriating the very heart of the house—the butler’s pantry and the dumbwaiter. And I’m there shaking my head my head at the tremendous loss when all at once, I’m physically ripped out of the dream muscle by muscle only to wake up back in NYC with my whole body clenched and sweaty. Somehow, it all feels very much like Kelly Link dream logic + Quilt Theory. (You know, from physics and the multiverse?)

Things I’ve loved this week…

  • It’s college drop off time, which comes with all manner of anticipation, grief and feeling just plain lucky. I happened upon this hilarious podcast adventure, and thought maybe this next act is The Parker Posey Phase of My Life?
  • When I want to remember how much I love writing by hand, Laura van den Berg, author of The Third Hotel reminds me.
  • When I need solid fashion advice I check in with Grace at The Stripe.
  • When I’m at work and want to stop feeling like Ingrid Bergman from Gaslight.
  • When I want to repeat myself (like the broken record that I am) about how women in STEM can be such a kickass setting for a riveting psychological thriller, I think of only of Megan Abbott’s Give Me Your Hand.
  • When I need to recall that the word “Hobo” comes from the phrase “homeward bound” and that they had their own mythologized code.
  • Why New Yorkers (and many other humans of the world) hate slow walkers.
  • RIP Neil Simon, because whenever I need a lift from our overwhelming world I always watch Seems Like Old Times.

Ok, back to school everyone… xoxo – gg

PS – Best shot from Seems Like Old Times

LastShot

Advertisements

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

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…

loeb.jpg

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