Call of the Wild (From Siri With Love)

Hello, Lovelies! Don’t you LOVE waking up to a mean old white guy reckoning???

I also love that it’s finally cold enough in the city for me to wear my va-jay-jay coat! This is actually a super soft mom-coat that I got from Uniqlo last year—on sale. I call it that because it’s literally as soft and warm and great as the inside of a vagina. It’s like wearing one around your whole person. In fact, Uniqlo, you should really just re-brand the coat as that. (Just my two yen)

I don’t know about you but every now and then, I have these Liz Lemon-style montage moments where I decide to take charge of my life! Usually, they involve deciding to eat fewer cheese curls or to stop dating guys who look like pirates or to stop putting off some irksome chore around the house.

Yesterday’s montage manifested as finally deciding to clean the bugs out of the big overhead light in the kitchen. Ordinarily, this is a two-person job since a) I am a chick with limited upper body strength and b) I really don’t like bugs at all. Anything that skitters freaks me the fuck out. I once had to stop working on a horror film because just writing the death-by-bug scenes bothered me too much. But I’m feeling pretty boss these days after finishing the book, so there I am in the kitchen, on the step ladder, whispering to myself: “I’m not afraid, I’m not afraid, I’m in charge here. It’s just a bunch of little bug corpses. I was a Girl Scout blah-dee-blah…”

And I’m easing the unwieldy light panel down from the ceiling when my sock catches on a nail on one of the ladder’s steps and I start to fall backward. As I’m falling, I peer up over the edge of the light panel and the dead bugs (one of which includes a mid-sized Manhattan cockroach) are all sliding toward my wide open mouth which is, of course, now shouting, “Fuck, fuck, fuuuuuuuuuck…!!!”

At the same time, my phone, which is plugged in on the kitchen counter, blinks to life and Siri says, “Alisa, I would NEVER speak to you that way!”

And I’m so shocked by her out-of-the-blue, on-command humanity that I do this twisting cat-like sproing off the ladder, right out of my socks and land fine while also missing the whole mouthful of bugs. (Phew!)

Thank you, Siri, for the unexpected tone check? I’ll so take scolding over critters.

The last time I got that up close and personal with wildlife was when I was dealing with a band of very brazen raccoons in Glen Ellen, California. The artsy, walkable village some fifty miles North of San Francisco in the heart of the Sonoma wine country was once home to Jack London. At the behest of some dear friends, I’d gone there to hide out after two grim reconstructive surgeries. I wanted to write about what it felt like to be monstrous. I certainly looked the part back then. Because of the nature of my accident, I’d broken a number of teeth, but I had one tooth–a pointy canine–that stuck out sideways, almost perpendicular to the others. So deeply rooted down into the bone are human canines, there was no fixing it or even extracting it until the rest of my shattered face and jaw healed. For the time being, I was White Fang, living in Jack’s town near what was once known as Wolf House.

I wanted to make some wholesale changes in my life starting with finally getting a handle on my seizures. Alone in Glen Ellen, with only my despair, a bunch of heat-seeking raccoons, and my kindled brain for company, I started to re-read To Build a Fire, London’s seminal short story. There’s a scene where the character is beating his fist against the side of his leg to get feeling back and survive. I so related to that bit—the regaining of feeling or at least feeling more human than wild. I was worried I might not. Still, I wrote and wrote right to the very edge of my fear that winter. I am profoundly grateful to the family who allowed me to be a writer-in-residence there. With the recent spate of devastating wildfires in Glen Ellen, Napa, St. Helena, and Santa Rosa I just hope everyone is refinding their footing amid flashes of unexpected humanity–though not necessarily from Siri.

Stay rad, Lovelies and have a human day – xoxo – GG

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Call of the Wild…

From the cover of Jenny Lawson’s amazing book Furiously Happy

Greetings from Jack London-land… AKA Glen Ellen, CA, population 784… where I have been given the most INCREDIBLE gift through the hospitality of some amazing people… the chance to work undisturbed by humans on my crazy book and write where HE wrote… in this perfectly wild little hamlet (see below) …

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I haven’t wanted to waste a single second of this precious time… which is why I’ve been radio-silent on the blog. Plus, it is so crazy GORGE out here… Honestly, a city girl could easily become some kind of asshole shut-in, like Thoreau, wandering around like a slack-jawed yokel in my socks, thinking my thoughts were all special and important, but no gift as rich and complete as this one comes without a surprise or two…

My surprise involves raccoons(1). You heard me right. Raccoons! Specifically, 2 females, who live here as well and who are just THE SPIT of those awesome two old broads from Grey Gardens

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my roomies!

The whole adventure recently involved a phone call right out of McSweeney’s…

Brrring…. Brrrinnnng….

Hello, you have reached the Sonoma County Wildlife Exclusion Hotline, a division of the Sonoma County Department of Fish and Game. Please listen carefully as our menu options have recently changed…

[Sure… that’s what they all say, methinks.]

We are an all-volunteer organization, staffed by a team of wildlife specialists in EXCLUSION. Please note that while we are not an extermination organization, animals deemed a threat to public safety may be removed and humanely euthanized, if necessary…

[So, stop leaving us meanie-pants messages, you PETA jerk offs! You know who you are!]

At the sound of the tone, please leave a detailed message describing the nature of your wildlife situation. Please include your name, number and best time of day to reach you. Your call will be returned by a volunteer within 2 business days…

[But what if I’m dealing with a crisis? Like 2 dog-sized creatures brazenly eating an entire heating system and drinking milk straight from the carton???]

IF you are dealing with an EMERGENCY, please call our emergency cell phone line, staffed by a volunteer and leave a duplicate detailed message…

[Ok, so what qualifies as an…]

An EXAMPLE OF AN EMERGENCY would be… a raccoon falling through your ceiling that is currently running around your house… In other words, only leave us a message if it’s like a scene out of THE REVENANT…

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[Yipes… I consider my 2 ladies for a second and that’s when I realize 3 things… 1) If this is what people out here are used to… then I really am WAY out in THE WILD. 2) I’m starting to look a tad like Leo… and 3) it’s high time for a trip to the city… SF here, I come!]

XOXO – gg

(1) From the cover of Jenny Lawson’s amazing book Furiously Happy