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…

IMG_4060

…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

 

The Big Sleep…

Don’t you just love this picture of Joan Didion? She looks so vulnerable—like she just woke up from a nap.

Hi there, Lovelies. It’s 79 and gorgeous along the Hudson where I have been leaning out… way out over the last 6 weeks. Another shout from the cool, dark little corner of New York where the fan on my desk whirs away and I ponder over how to organize a new thriller tentatively titled MUSE WITCH BEAST. Again, all kudos and love to Jami Attenberg’s #1000wordsofsummer for fueling my creative sleep.

There’s a lot of connective tissue that remains to be woven across the bones of the monstrous creature but if I’ve learned anything at all from writing SPAZ (or Gotham Girl Interrupted as it’s now titled) it’s that the book you set out to write is rarely the book that gets written.

One minute you’re penning a heady little yarn about creativity, electricity, and the brain, the next you’re wading through the swampy musings of what it means to be the loudest mute lady in NYC, and now I’ve ended up with this very long thank you note to the people who’ve looked after me all these years of dealing with epilepsy. One thing I’ve noticed (and I don’t think I’m imagining it) is that as you edge closer and closer toward your release date, the more squirrelly people around you become. They’re entirely more careful about what they say in your presence. Their voices go up an octave, sharpening in this nervous, whistling-past-the-graveyard kind of way. It’s as if they are preparing to be completely horrified by some revelation, embarrassment, or cringe-worthy detail you may have included about them. Some go radio-silent altogether. It’s surreal.

There’s this awful story/rumor that came across my feed during final editing about a memoirist who wrote a tell-all of her marriage. Apparently, her husband read it and immediately committed suicide. The prospect of any reader feeling driven toward such tragic action by anything I might jot down completely terrifies me. We’re all unreliable narrators (even of our own stories) and what if we inadvertently trigger someone or everyone? Should there be some kind of warning label like at the beginning of Incredibles 2? It keeps me up at night. The thing I woke up to however during the writing process is that while my own style of comedy often vacillates between ridiculous self-deference and subversive snark, the target is always just me. I think I’d always rather have everyone else coming off clever and effing hilarious.

I want to ask other comedians and writers about this… I especially want to ask Ottessa Moshfegh if people she knows recognize themselves in her books, or is it all some kind of wild fictitious channeling? I am reading her latest about a white girl with a trust fund who self-medicates to the point of a near-continuous blackout in the hopes of changing her life in her sleep. Who knew self-destruction could be so entertaining? There are many days I would like to nap my way to a better existence.

9780525522119

Her voice is intoxicating—with zero fear of the grotesque. She also portrays privilege in a manner that makes it hard to look away.

Alas, no big sleep for any of us yet…  Get outside today, Lovelies – XOXO – GG

On a scale from one… to Marlee Matlin. Plus, the way of the doofus warrior….

Feeling and speaking keep coming back and damn if it isn’t ouchie as all hell. Still… on a scale from one… to Marlee Matlin, I feel like I’m skewing pretty Marlee, and so count myself lucky… Indeed, she is lovely and a role model to be sure. She doesn’t let anything stop her… ever. I used to be that way… probably to a fault. Sorry kids.
+++
What’s new here… hmm… lemme think…  our dog has morphed into that kind of bad boyfriend you involuntarily roll your eyes at and should break up with, but you don’t even though he…
  • is über needy
  • possesses a limited vocabulary with only tenuous subject/verb agreement
  • eats everything in the house, including that stack of New Yorkers you were saving (to catch up on… because you will catch up!!! Repeat. You will catch up!)
  • insists on watching really bad Canadian television like Bitten, which might as well be the stripper channel with low rent CGI wolves sprinkled in. Painful….Unknown-1
  • has crazy nasty breath–and NOT just in the morning
  • not-so-secretly longs to hump everything in sight, all the time, even when there’s subzero interest in nookie
  • takes enormous, stinky dumps and forgets to flush
  • gets all aggro when I ask for time to myself….
I SO want to break up with my dog right now… But New Yorkers ADORE their dogs, And 20-something women literally have orgasms in the street over my dumb dog… it goes entirely against the code of all good personhood to be… meh… about your pooch. But there it is. I am.
+++
A belated, but most sincere RIP for the gifted neuro… Oliver Sacks… Such a mensch. You always remind me of a way smarter, more rockin’ version of Santa.
553e8d0ddb753b82389c7c70_t-oliver-sacks-autobiography-memoir-five-seconds-my-own-life-cop
Thank you for teaching us that the brain is human, that to be odd is perfectly all right, if not a delightful bonus… I remember my mom shoving her coffee-ring-stained copy of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat at me, declaring bluntly with a grin… oh, this one’s required, A… I think I was 16 at the time, and I reveled in its curious quirk. This was my introduction to neuro-diversity–something that would prove so critical later in life when trying to understand my daughter’s autism… and then after that, my own epilepsy…  NeuroTribes are what’s needed… for certain. Thank you also for reminding us that the joy of love can come at any time of life, even when we think it’s long past.
+++
I’m researching a short story about lycanthropy set in NYC during the heyday of the New Yorker mag–Dorothy Park, Benchley, etc. I always find werewolf stories to be subpar, don’t you? I think it’s the lack of consistency in the lore… Seizures are the closest equivalent I have for the emotional piece of it all. The pure, sticky dread of it all. When I wake up from a seizure, I usually don’t have my clothes on either and… I never know what horrible thing I’ve done — or maybe said. I only remember being filled to the brim…. with stars. My field of vision, my whole person–pure current.
+++
So, I’ll sit for hours these days, kneading the wolf idea like bread dough in my head… I think it’s starting to bleed into my very bones and being… I finally became so ravenous today that I buckled and slurked to the corner Starbucks for a cheapo egg, cheese and sausage sandwich…it’s really just an egg MacMuffin putting on airs…  pretending to be intellectually-driven… Typically, over the years, when I have been in starving artist mode… I would have only coffee in the AM and then dinner at night. Nothing during the day… because the day was about survival, adrenalin and being “on”… But today…. I felt so hollow after I re-read Sacks’s obit…. that I thought I would fall asleep and surely die—so quietly as if in the snow. I had to eat salty, ambiguous meat products. I was wolfish when I walked into the shop. I could have swallowed the little fanboy afro-barrista in one swipe of my chops…but Joan Didion (or her doppelgängster) was there…. working away at a tiny table in the corner, and so I behaved… for a moment.

B7a387aIcAAoeSm
Everyone there was talking about the migrant crisis… the little boy… and I wanted to dare Trump to build a fence… the way of the doofus warrior
+++
Oh, I am crazy homesick for SF… I won’t deny it… but how I can’t wait for sweaters and baked goods involving pumpkin…
xoxo – gg