Why yes, I am a lefty ho…

Hello My Lovelies,

A quick post before the Cheeto-elect places his small, sweaty, orange, pussy-grabbing palm on a bible (leaving a stain, no doubt) and I morph back into a pre-existing condition—epilepsy. (My brain likes to spontaneously combust now and then. A genetic electrical issue, but what can you do?)

It goes without saying that there’s a definite buzz in the city this week. A reckoning humming… as though someone has strung high tension wires from skyscraper to tenement and back again. It’s a mood both distinctly electric and furtive. Like a burgeoning totalitarian regime, people pass each other on the street with expressions of crumpled worry… that say, “Are you one of us? Are you a… ahem… a friend? Oh, you’re not? Okay, no big!”

Just yesterday, I was trudging up Madison to the dentist in the freezing rain for my nine millionth root canal (that I cannot afford) when this homeless man came up to me and said, “Can I just tell you, I really like your boots?”

The snarky, jerky ne’er-do-well in my head replied, “Well then, clearly, I need to do some shopping!” (Only because these boots are from Costco. That’s right, the brand is “waterproof”)

But because New York is so bizarro-feeling these days, instead I said, “Thank you?”

And then, he launched into his whole elevator pitch, which when you’re a writer you do a lot of… but in my desire to be empathetic, I forgot that I still can’t make the right faces (post-accident) so I can mostly only look either terrified or uber cynical.

I must have looked really scared because a cabbie stopped traffic and called out to me, “Hey, are you okay??? Is he bothering you?”

And lo, in a voice that came out just like Greta Gerwig’s, I called back, “No, he just likes my footwear!” I’m a lefty ho, who’s as scared as the next person, right now.

But oy… it made me think that with all the protests and marches going on this week and going forward… we need to proceed thoughtfully, with compassion for those who think differently (or maybe not at all ) and keep a steady eye trained on intersectional politics… reversing stigma of all kinds, refraining from getting our collective dander up, being more inquisitive of each other and diffusing with humor wherever possible.

You just never know who is going to turn out to be a pal…

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If you plan to protest or march in NYC at any of the many efforts, just some handy tips!

Yours in solidarity, xoxo – gg

Delicate Flowers…

Here in Gotham, we’ve had our first real snow day… complete with people tiptoeing around the city on sidewalks made of eggshells. As I was padding home from the library yesterday, I could hear piano notes floating from a modest brownstone on 81st, carried out over wafting snowflakes… the only sound in the street, the sound of someone practicing her or his art. And it reminded me of why I’m also here.

I’ve been going through a grim patch lately… a romantic, political and societal malaise. Clearly, I need some Gemma Correll… and to read Roxane Gay’s new book… Difficult Women

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Yes, I’m still taking the election personally… With the threatened repeal of Obamacare and nothing to replace it? So many people I know rely on it. And just the very idea that America would choose a sexist, racist, bigoted, lying, non-tax paying, nuclear Cheeto over a competent, experienced woman… it still smarts. Do they not like us that much? I want to see difficult women win. Lord knows, I am one. Doesn’t take a Gallup poll to figure that one out. My issues have issues. Epilepsy, anxiety, a fear of juice. A mugger once tried to take my purse and I argued that it didn’t go with his outfit. I wanted us to win for once. I wanted to keep that damn purse.

When my daughters and I were younger, and we were sad post-le-divorce, we’d play OGT in the car… One Good Thing… Roxane’s book is today’s. We have to stay Difficult Women. Stay rad and resist.

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.

 

My Beautiful Broken Brain… Wait, is that too high fallutin’?

Cartoon by the amazing Allie Brosh (hyperboleandahalf.com)

Yes, I came home from the wild and went in for the final reconstructive surgery…

Dr. Ira Sturman and Dr. KareemofWheat…  you are indeed the crafty Oliver Sacks-van Gogh-Jan Svankmajer team of maxillofacial artistry…

And to that poor/sweet anesthesiologist who yanked  me back into life by disemboweling me through my nose… Guantanamo-style… I’m so sorry if I scared you… don’t be afraid chica, it gets fucking better, I swear 🙂

And to Sherill and Nada… feel my love ladies! You are the greatest nurses in the world… you deserve some crazy-meaningful prize… or something… a big-ass raise.

Have been shuffling around my apartment having David Lynch-style real estate dreams and looking like a drunk lady, wearing a jockstrap on my chin…which is so not fair because I have been very, very good in that regard… but I am almost one year without a full grand mal seizure and I almost feel/look like me… Even if I can’t fully talk yet… I still love what’s crackling in my beautiful broken brain and I cannot wait to see this… Feel like I have lived it 100 times over…

And now to fight eviction… by the sweetest, most patient landlords who ever were… not that I wouldn’t just give them the keys because they are the best (and I will), but when you are like I am these days… all you crave is the constancy and sameness of your books and your friends 🙂

XOXO – GG

2016: On the Orgasmic Lure of ‘The Reset’

Day 29 (or so) from Jack London-Land and it’s safe to say things are getting a tad Grey Gardens up here. Hoo boy…

I’ll be frank … 2015 really blew. (yes, hello 2016… I love you already. Mwaahhh!!)

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I know everyone’s hatin’ on Gwynie these days, but the image was just so apt.

In giving this past year the sidelong glance it deserves… almost every bad thing that could happen… did happen… just like that scene in The Revenant. After reaching the high point of my professional life… I slid down the corporate ladder faster than a stripper down a greased pole. I’ll spare you the litany of bad breaks and missteps, but life was quickly turning into an Aimee Mann song … you know that one from Magnolia… I LOVE Aimee… she is my serious girl crush, but I do not want her as my life’s theme music anymore… Sorry Aimee. (You’re still hot)

3 days before Christmas I had a mini seizure… not a full rolling-on-the-ground grand mal… more like a petit. I was writing when it happened… finishing a true crime freelance gig that was just sooooooooo mind-like-a-dial-tone. Here’s exact moment when it happened… see how my typing goes all crazy?

seized.pngit was like swallowing a bolt of lightning and then… staring out across a great black chasm of solid darkness… at what I have always imagined a parsec to be… (a parsec is equal to about 3.26 light-years or 19 trillion miles). Casting around for a mooring in the BIG deep dark, it seemed I was the big deep dark. Pure absence.

I don’t know how I managed it, but I texted a panicked “help”… because I am out in the wilderness here. Quick-thinking friends sent some lovely locals to check on me… They reminded me of hipster versions of Mr and Mrs. Santa Claus… jolly and sweet… Good Samaritans unafraid of a spaz in distress. “We’ve seen the dog have seizures!” they told me.

And then, I slept and slept… like the deadest of the dead… with flashes of hip Mrs. Claus checking on me.

When I finally awoke, this time was different… But how to describe it without sounding like a damn sissy… My friend Camille says that after I have a seizure… I always look like I’ve just had sex. That’s kind of how this was… it was a true form of being awake… not in any airy-fairy-Zen-way (sorry Buddhists)… but a concrete… flint-cracking awake with this singular spark of joy, like that amazing feeling you have right after a big, ginormous sneeze, or on that first, luxurious morning inhale of coffee…  I have not had this feeling in so long… since the big, bad accident–last year. I’ve heard it called “the beginners mind.” And it was as if suddenly… I might actually get my life back… like George Bailey in a It’s a Wonderful Life realizing he’s not a goner… he may be a total loon, but he’s really, super-duper alive.

And it came with a kind of creative euphoria… a constant, vivd flow of ideas, words, images, undertones and moods all rushing at me like a gorgeous river of stars in my mind’s eye. It was like a completely amazing software upgrade. Something I never want to let go of… like my children or my city.

While we’ve all been bemoaning the oh-so-tiresome Resolution these past weeks… I have been reminded of something a very dear friend once taught me (and keeps teaching me again and again). She is a doctor, but not just any doctor… she is one who specializes in the absolute, from-the-ground-up-things-are-decimated-rebuild of a person… she is meticulous, an artist, at times she is pure, crazy-making OCD, but she has schooled me in the ways and means of the reset… the profound, methodical comfort of putting things back, the satisfaction of knowing exactly where things go, of knowing precisely what instruments and materials are needed next, and having them perfectly at hand… that the very act and aftermath of the reset can be just the thing… just the rush… one needs… especially for 2016. For this lesson and my little seizure, I’m grateful.

I wish this feeling for all of us this year. Especially Gotham.

XOXO – gg

 

Bustle was right… It was hot as balls! And we were all just hanging on by a thread…

Especially the dog… I’ve been worried that he’s just dumb as a rock, but it appears he’s figured out how to control the air conditioner with his hot, stinky chicken jerky breath… So, that’s positive. (Right?) Today is cooler… (praise Xenu) With the dog though… I keep hoping he’ll grow up to be a chill, literary pooch… one who likes jazz, wears glasses and reads the New Yorker, but right now he’s more like a slack-jawed, mouth breathing yokel… I’m going to record it… You can totally hear him from across entire apartment… amid the Rear Window symphony that summer in the city always is. He sounds like a muppet laughing… (think: Ernie from Sesame Street). It shakes the damn coffee table. And  I’m pretty sure everything I say to him sounds like this:

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by the amazing and incomparable Allie Brosh…

… though this may be because I still sound so unintelligibly French since breaking my face… (This, despite all my “What’s New Pussycat?” jam sessions) Yes, he likes to sit right next to me, his chicken jerky face poised at my ear, breathing heavily like a bedraggled tourist on the subway. Drooling on my laptop… Not so good for the writing productivity… oy… I’ve been hibernating, working on a book based on a TEDx talk I gave a few years back about creativity, electricity and the brain… It’s turning out to be so chocked full of sci-fi tropes… I almost feel like I’m right back in Scott Bukatman’s class at NYU…Yes!… Love me my NERDS 🙂 So, am writing out the heat… eating loads of muffins… and bacon and cheeseburgers pizza with brie and ice cream… At a size zero, I need some reserves… lest I disappear with this next round of surgery and being wired shut. it’s getting so old… I told the doctors at this point… I totally don’t mind being a mute, living out a quiet Amelie-like existence… talking is so overrated…  If I can just lose this damn Kirk Douglas vibe, I will be the happiest spaz in all the city 🙂 No offense, Spartacus… I jus miss being able to smile.

Stay cool ladies and gents…

xoxo – gg

Happy Independence! Guess who met the mayor???

What a crazy 10 days! The city’s practically a Fellini movie!

  • Marriage equality… yesssss!
  • Obamacare upheld… Hooray! Prostate checks and pap smears for everyone!!!
  • Bree Newsome IS awesome–and yes, I DID help bail her out of jail. But why did they make a brother put the flag back up 5 minutes later??? Come on people… Really???
  • The GOP beauty pageant is turning out to be better (and more absurd) than Toddlers and Tiaras!
  • I even met the mayor! Yep! He is SO my dad, I practically expected him to ground me right then and there! (or at least send me to my room/apartment!)

Lately, I feel like I have more issues than Vanity Fair, but last week, someone I completely admire won a bigass prize for his short film about his dog… and it reminded me to just… shut it, girl.

Yes, sad, but crazy joyful.

I also found out I have to go back in for another surgery, which just seems not possible and like I will surely die–given how much they’ve already done to try to fix my overly electrical brain, but every time I get sad, I just look at this pic of a new family arrival and I’m better…

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(I mean… I suppose if I were a little guy next to those fabulous boobies all the time, I’d be super happy too! What’s not to love?) Welcome Matteo James!

And happy indie day!

xoxo – 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

Spaz… and the City

I can’t write. I have a whole legal pad of ideas, but here’s what my brain is saying to me right now:

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it’s just trying to be helpful.

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And so it keeps talking…

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cartoons by the amazing Allie Brosh – hyperboleandahalf.com

I decided to talk to my dry cleaner about it. I tell him the latest goings on in my life (all mostly happy with a bit of upheaval last week). As I recount the highs and then a big low, he scowls and interrupts, “Has it ever occurred to you that you might be avoiding your destiny? That you might be having these things because you’re not writing about them?”

My dry cleaner is talking about my seizures. (the “upheaval” I was referring to a few sentences ago) I had a big one last week–a grand mal–alone in my apartment. It sucked.

“Helloo… What if I don’t want this as my destiny?” I quip, defiantly.

“Hellooo… You don’t get a choice. That’s why it’s destiny, dummy.”

He has a point. It’s an obvious one, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it, and it certainly doesn’t mean I have to write about it here.

You see, I’d promised myself that I wouldn’t write about my epilepsy on this blog as it can be kind of grim–the whole rolling around on the ground thing with bystanders… all standing by and freaking out and calling 911 (even though it’s not usually necessary for me). Then, there’s me… waking up with no memory of myself, or anyone else, even my closest friends… who are you people? No really, people have said I look at them, like I’m Jamie Lee Curtis looking at Michael in Halloween (but with better hair). And sometimes, I wake up looking like a prize fighter–i.e., black eye, concussed and slurring my words like a super drunk Muhammad Ali. (again, with better hair)

It can be a real buzzkill… But it’s actually one of the main reasons why I now live in NYC… There’s no driving required. Taxi guys love me. There’s delivery of pretty much everything you could ever want or need (including a really rad wig that once helped me escape my ex-husband’s attorneys) and if anything happens while you’re out and about, there are plenty of people around you who will most likely care enough to stop and help. New Yorkers are nicer than people give them credit for.

Still, it took me a while to come out to my dry cleaner. It’s the litmus test for all true friends. Anyone who would reject you out of hand for something so random as a seizure is an automatic turd in my book.

My dry cleaner commiserates, shaking his head, “What’d that neurologist on Youtube say?”

“All the electrical impulses in your brain align and synchronize. It’s like a perfect storm, but in your brain and without George Clooney.” I know this line by heart.

I haven’t had a  seizure in over a year. The day after it happens, I tend to mope around the house and watch youtube videos of other people having seizures, so that I can wallow in self-pity. I’m also just wicked curious as to what I look like. It’s a little cocktail of anthropology and vanity that always passes within a day. This time, however, the malaise has lingered.

“You need to cheer up blondie.” My dry cleaner pulls a ziplock freezer bag out from under the counter. Inside it are lots of other smaller ziplock bags with different types of pills in them. It’s like a tangled yarn ball of prescription drugs.

My dry cleaner, my dealer…. He presses a little yellow pill into my hand.

“What’s this?” I feel my brow furrow in suspicion.

“Klonapin … Helps ya think straight.”

“What else do you have there?”

He rattles off a dozen names that aren’t really names. Suddenly, he is a pharmacy–a veritable CVS without the line, the ‘tude or the overwrought suicide music they always play:

(Btw, Joe Pizzulo, you are so bangin’!)

“Look here girly, if you’d fallen the other direction last week, you’d be the fucking English Patient. You need to relax.”

“When did you read that book? I thought you were into the whole trashy, Neo-Noir thing?”

“I am,” he confesses, “but every now and then even I have to step it up from a literary standpoint.”

He’s right. Being the English Patient would suck. All that oozing… the lack of a nose. Even if I’ve never been that fond of my anglo ski jump of a profile, I’d take it over looking like a mummified Ralph Fiennes.

“We have to find you a nice Jewish boy who can help danger-proof your house and keep an eye on you. New York’s full of them.”

“I liked the last guy,” I protest. “He was funny… and he brought me toast and coffee and didn’t mind if I got crumbs in the bed.”

“Feh…” My dry cleaner waves the very idea of toast guy away as if he were a gnat. “Take a Klonapin and embrace your destiny as a spaz, baby, I guarantee… you’ll be able to write again.”

I haven’t taken the Klonapin, but words are once more starting to happen…

xoxo – gg