Girl Swallows Sun

Hello, Lovelies, How the hell are you?

I think Sara Benincasa called it correctly yesterday. There is nothing sexier than a French fireman rescuing art. Between, the accent, the bravery, and the overall cultural redemption… serious swoon.

In 2015, my facial nerves were severed. No more feeling, no smile—only a smirk after many months of ridiculous face push-ups. I remember wanting to feel a kiss so badly. I’d watch husbands, wives, and lovers at school drop-off and just long. Perched on my stoop, full of pins and plates, I’d close my eyes and imagine a man kissing me on the very sexy-ticklish spot where my earlobe becomes my neck. I’d feel the bristle of his well-trimmed scruff against my cheek. My face, unafraid, cradled in his hands, the laughing play of whispered jokes. The warmth of lips would always become this girl-swallows-sun glow I’d carry around all day.

It’s been four years since I’ve felt a kiss.

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I’ve almost started forgetting that it’s even possible, which means I mourn it less. Last week on the anniversary of the beastly day, friends took me to lunch for an amazing re-birth-day. For the last few years, I’ve regarded the date itself with a mix of superstition, gratitude, and regret. Somehow, this approach and comedy have saved my rag and bone hiney, but yesterday, watching Notre Dame burn amid the quiet shock and then the hymns, I re-remembered love and missed it deep in my bones. I’d been in love there once.

I would like a French fireman, please? Preferably one who reads?

French Firemen

Thanks to those of you who wrote in to tell me I had Trump hair. Arya Stark voice back at you: A girl has toner…  and a list. But don’t get me started on that despicable Cheeto.

Stay rad, Lovelies – xoxo – gg

The OA, Crazy Dream Logic, Bad Wigs?

Hello, Lovelies… How the hell are you?

I’ve been wickedly excited about the return of The OA and GoT—especially after writing a Christmas movie about pie. That said, I do hope I don’t end up dying in an airplane bathroom in a Draco Malfoy wig. (I probably will) Yes, the tour took its toll but was ridiculous fun and I have many stories…

Meanwhile, is AOC  not the new political Daenerys? I know I sound like a broken record here, but we need guys everywhere to bend the knee, show us the report, and make room for lady writers, politicians, activists, comedians, bartenders, and engineers to do their best work to save the planet and vanquish the white walkers with their horrendous toenails, etc. It’s time to lead with fairy hair and dragons…

What else is happening… RIP Agnes Varda. You broke ground, you powerful sprite. Speaking of angels, Part 2 of The OA is super fun. They weave storylines so gracefully across all manner of “bearing witness” platforms and contexts—it’s almost balletic. I won’t spoil it for you.

I think because I’m coming up on my own personal epilepsy survival day of April 11th…  I just had the most beautiful-frightening dream ever.  I’m in New York on the way home from dinner with my ex and his hilarious friend Will, and because it’s crazy dream-logic, we all go to yoga in this converted church that somehow looks like a Restoration Hardware ad??? Think soothing, hipster masculinity, everything swathed in grays, taupes, distressed leathers, and wood tones. And I fall asleep during Savasana like I always do. When I wake up, I’m in a different place in the studio, searching the crowd for my ex and his buddy. They would never just up and leave me… Oh, and did I mention I’m also naked… and phone-less.

So, I wrap myself up in a yoga mat (like a taco) and I’m asking staffers where my clothes might have gotten to, but they’re all in this post-vinyasa fugue state that’s probably a function of working there. I can’t remember my ex’s number or Will’s to call them from these white courtesy phones that keep appearing out of nowhere. I finally make it to the door, and out of the church-yoga-Restoration Hardware. It’s just a few blocks to my house, I think. Yes, I’m only wearing a yoga mat, but I can make it if I run really fast. Hell, it’s NYC… There are plenty of people wearing much worse.

Just then, a man approaches me. He’s a pale, gaunt Jeff Daniels type, and he whispers, “I’m going to have one…” And I KNOW exactly what he means. All at once, he morphs into this roiling, swirling, skinless body of sand, light, and air that I cannot quite catch or keep safe… it’s like trying to hold fire. He is having a seizure, and then I SIT STRAIGHT UP in my bed here in LA, with both arms outstretched and empty—still trying to catch him. It was haunting.

Ok, I need coffee… Enjoy Spring, you crazy rad lovers – XOXO – GG

PS… For what to actually do during a seizure, watch this.

PPS… Apologies if you see weird paragraphs in this one… Something is up with WP.

I solemnly swear that I am up to no good…

Hello, Lovelies… Greetings from LA… Cozy den of narcissism that it is.

My eyes are about to fall out of my head from waaaaaay too much screen time. I have been working feverishly on a Christmas movie about what else… Pie. Hey, a girl’s gotta eat!

With the book tour for Gotham Girl Interrupted winding down, I have to confess, I did something slightly evil… I found out my nemesis was dissing me to booksellers all over the country… So, in every city that I went to, in every airport bookstore, in every chain, in every indie… wherever that guy was taking up lady shelf-space with his complainy, whiney, white-boy misery memoir…  I slipped a bookmark into his book redirecting readers to my book. TBH, I feel he perpetuates wildly negative stereotypes whereas I still believe humor opens the door for greater empathy which leads to broader mainstream understanding… above and beyond the grim woebot narrative. This pie is for that guy. My favorite part of the tour is still my interview with Jessimae Peluso from Sharp Tongue – Episode #150. If you haven’t had a chance to listen, let this help you snort-laugh on your way home today. 

For now, stay rad, stay warm, and stay safe. xoxo – gotham girl

 

 

 

 

 

 

Girl Meets Dirt

Hello, Lovelies, How the hell are you?

Greetings from the burning world… Yes, I’m coming to you live from the charred hinterlands of Shasta, California not far from the Oregon border—a place that feels like the way-way back of the region’s old-school family station wagon. I’m here writing about the apocalyptic wildfires from which many are still recovering, where makeshift tents, trailers, and rickety shacks pepper the blackened, wool-folded mountains. Everywhere you look… there’s just SO. MUCH. DIRT. I thought New York was dirty, but I’m wrong. I’m sure we all walk around with a fine coating of fecal matter on our face’s every day but it’s nothing like this. The other eerie thing… There are no birds.

To put a cherry on top of the irony sundae that is my all-too-meta-meta-life right now… The house I am staying in also caught fire this morning. Something to do with improper dishwasher wiring. It’s fine now, but for a stretch there, my audio cortices were tortured by way too many white guys grunting and arguing about what had actually gone awry. Much like an impacted wisdom tooth, there was the surgical removal of the troublesome appliance, followed by the sharp ka-thud of its carcass in the front yard. All the while, I’m yawning at them on the deck under a yolk-yellow sun, a sliver of belly smiling out from between my shrunken yoga top and flannel pajama bottoms. I never thought (of all people) I would tire of handsome firefighters, but I’m closing in. Mostly, I just want things to stop being on fire—my brain included—I am 82 days seizure-free.

One thing I never realized is how long the smoke and fire continue after a blaze is reported as being “contained”. It’s a totally Wagnerian aria of chainsaws, chippers, and heavy machinery. The process of controlled burning, bulldozing, tree-falling, land scraping, soil testing, and hydroseeding required to rebuild even smallest structure can feel eternal—it’s like the effing Ring Cycle. People are working crazy-hard. There’s a strength in them that feels bred-in-bone.

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Another consequence of the wildfires is that with the sudden presence of all the federal, state, and local officials, a whole host of once-hidden felons and petty criminals comes out of the woodwork—primarily because there is so much actual woodwork to do. Once thick with evergreens and generations of belligerence, you come to this part of the world to get lost and stay lost. Now it’s a mostly barren wasteland. Even the few trees left feel oddly temporary. Just here for a quick visit. There’s also a distinctly Carl Hiaasen-esque Florida vibe to the place. I keep waiting for an ornery redneck to jump out from one of the remaining shrubs with a decapitated Rottweiler head attached to his arm with some sort of rural tomfoolery in mind.

In other news, I’ve been working in an old garden shed that’s quite possibly the dirtiest, most delightful place I’ve ever worked. I may build my own when I finally get back to New York. In the meantime, I will be in Los Angeles tomorrow. If any of you lovelies happen to be in the area, I will be signing books at the National Walk to End Epilepsy on Feb 2 at the Rose Bowl. Details to follow!

Stay rad & stay safe! xoxo – Gotham Girl

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Featured photo courtesy of Jeremy Bishop

 

The Lobster…

FADE IN: Open tight on a digital alarm clock blinking from 2:47 AM to 2:48. The Such-and-Such Executive Inn.

Off-screen, we hear the frantic sound of blankets rustling. A forty-something-year-old woman is yelping and batting at an unseen foe. Next, we hear the clatter of an old-school telephone handset being dropped and hastily retrieved for dialing.

“Front Desk. Good Morning, Ms. Jones,” comes the overly-chipper voice of a guy who has just surely spilled his bong water.

“There’s a lobster in the bed!” I whisper-shout.

“Ma’am, this is Sacramento, we don’t have—”

“Listen to me, there’s AN INSECT the size of a lobster crawling across my bed!”

(Audible gasp) “Yikes. Do you want me to send security?”

(More audible gasping) “Is that what you usually do?”

“And assign you a new room?”

“Good God, moving rooms at 3 AM? I’m going to need pants,” I say to no one in particular.

I’d been SO ready for pristine white sheets and SLEEP that night.

The book tour had me feeling like a greedy publicity hussy (instead of just a regular hussy). It’s a ramshackle itinerary—the kind where you airplane glue a signing together with a conference Q&A, a TV thing, and a dozen radio shows or podcasts.

After 10 hours shoehorned into the middle seat of a flight surrounded by five inconsolable newborns, and only one working loo for the entire plane, then an event where the bookseller actually put my book in the front window next to Steve Jobs’s tome (which never EVER happens), only for my iPhone to die right at the moment I was snapping the evidentiary pic, I’d gone to a super-delightful makeshift dinner where I didn’t eat enough because I hadn’t seen the person in 27 years and I was so amazed by who he had turned into as well as by who he had not. The smear of time and age had transformed him into Michael Keaton from Birdman. Then, we then ran through the pouring rain across a tiny park and ended up taking turns reciting this Buddhist poem here…

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…until we were both so drenched and freezing, we required hot chocolate. (Seriously, note to self for 2019: stop taking overly long walks in the rain while underdressed.) Then, I told him I’d used his name for a character in my next TV project because it’s such a good name—only to have him seem a little concerned. (Don’t worry, mister! Your character is super juicy!) Suffice to say, I’d racked out at the Executive Inn—the name of which we made ill-mannered jokes about in the car.

Fast forward back to 3 AM… A six-foot-five, 280-pound security guard named Benny stands terrified in the doorway with a cell phone and a fly swatter. Behind my new, soft-spoken friend, it’s still raining sheets. The lobster pokes its head out from the pillows like a Meerkat.

And this is when I realize two things: 1) There are much bigger bugs outside of Manhattan than I ever bargained for and 2) Greta Gerwig is SO completely spot-on; Sacramento really IS the midwest of California. No wonder Joan Didion comes back here to rest up after every book. Its prairie plains are topheavy with indigo sky, the people are crazy-nice, coming at you with gluten-rich baked goods (think: macaroni & cheese pie) and earnest assistance at all hours of the night. They even freak out with you—as evidenced by Benny’s attempt at some highly Yogic breathing with me after which he helped lug all my gear and books to the new room where we checked the premises for additional critters, calling out, “Hellooooo??? Anybody there?”

Honestly, I don’t know how David Sedaris manages 100-plus cities without disintegrating into a formless (yet charming) puddle of ectoplasm. (Of course, he doesn’t necessarily have a Benny.) I’ve only done eight cities and I’m practically a compost heap.

In any case, belated merry-all-the-things, Lovelies! Are you all set for 2019? Yet another year since I’ve failed at becoming a better person. Oh, New York City, I am homesick for your ever-changing ways and plainspoken sense of proportion. Please don’t morph entirely into a Sephora before I get back?

Stay rad… Here’s to subtle possession in the new year – XOXO – Gotham Girl

 

Tonight, I’m Elizabeth Taylor…

Ahoy, Lovelies. How the hell are you?

Just back from Wakanda, sporting a new brain (or what feels like one). For newcomers, this is code for… I had another tonic-clonic seizure a few weeks ago and now I’m in a Technicolor reboot of sorts where everything feels brave and new. 

The last time I woke up like this… an aging hippie was standing over me in a Muppet sweater telling me I needed some serious weed. She may not have been entirely wrong.

After being seizure-free for almost three years, here I am again… feeling just returned from an alternate universe and on even more Keppra than ever before. While I’m grateful for a drug that’s given me three extra years of life as a relatively ordinary girl,  it still has a way of turning me into Elizabeth Taylor every now and then. Something to keep an eye on…

On the flip side, the super-duper happy news is that last week Gotham Girl Interrupted made it to #1 in Amazon new releases and I’m finally able to attend the Annual American Epilepsy Society Meeting in New Orleans for the very first time! I’ll be doing a meet & greet here tomorrow for the Epilepsy Foundation at 2 pm at the Convention Center in Room #7 of the Exhibit Hall. If any of you are in the area, DO come by!

For now, stay rad, Lovelies –  XOXO – Gotham Girl

 

 

 

 

 

Save the Date…

And now for something completely different…

If you’re going to be in the New York area next month, DO come out for an evening of snarky banter as I yuck it up with fellow writer Jessica Keenan Smith of Living Well With Epilepsy for the launch of our new podcast FITS N’ STARTS—recorded LIVE at EPIC. We’ll be discussing my debut collection of comedic tales GOTHAM GIRL INTERRUPTED  (or SPAZ as I like to call it).

Join us on November 15 @ 7PM. Book signing to follow. Please do RSVP to Jean Dunn at jdunn@epicli.org or call 516-739-7733, ext 155.