Big Little Sighs

Photo illustration by Cristiana Couceiro. Source photograph: Igor Ustynskyy

Hello, Lovelies… How the hell are you?

Behold, Spring. Mother nature’s way of saying, “Let’s get down!”

Amid the four nor’easters we’ve had here, I’ve found it necessary to shelter inside an emotional support meatloaf… Vegetarians, look away. This one’s a mashup of Ina Garten’s recipe tempered with the dark arts of Lipton onion soup mix. (Thereby sparing everyone the weepy misery of chopping three yellow onions in favor of a little packet of MSG nirvana.)

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It’s a blend of high and low culture that satisfies every time—much like champagne and potato chips. Oh, but gone are those days. A cheat day now and then is the best I can muster. And I’ve been cooking at the end of a long, snowy road, on hiatus from the city while I freight train through two TV scripts.

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One, dealing with neurodiversity, I’ve started and stopped at least twenty times with my writing partner… I’ll say cranky things like, “No, no, no… That’ll never work, that’s been done…”  just as he manages to pry the barnacles off and we come up with something nifty and almost weird enough to work. The other script is a single-camera half-hour rom-com series built around epilepsy, anxiety, and depression. My heart/brain still skips a beat/synapse that anyone’s actually interested, but there it is.

For reading during this latest storm/news cycle… I’d originally planned something intellectually rigorous like Diane Ackerman’s gorgeous A Natural History of the Senses. (Imma comin’ Diane!)

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Instead, I found myself retreating to the comforts of David Rakoff’s hilarious essay collection Fraud (since imposter syndrome is the central theme of my life).

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I’ve also been fangirling the eff out of some of my favorite writers on women’s pain and addiction like Abby Norman (review of Ask Me About My Uterus to come!) and Leslie Jamison.  Damn… Jamison’s words in her anti-memoir The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath “More. Again. Forever…” recalled the watery longing of mothers I knew from many a wine-soaked book club, the palpable ache for a deeper connection, more than for access to any Jack London’esque “white light” of creativity.

I’ve never been one who can write on the sauce (despite loving it). And I don’t get writer’s block as much as a kind of writer’s malaise that manifests in the form of big little sighs, working alone every morning in my pajamas, until some Mary Karr-ish language tumbles out: Fuck. Shit. Fuck. Don’t. You daft girl… Who on earth ever told you that you could do this? 

But then I go on. Here’s a great huzzah to the thrumming of buds and bugs and to a few more words.

Until tomorrow, hold fast – XOXO – GG

Cocktail Party Syndrome: NYC and Pathological Friendliness

Hello, Lovelies! Happy Monday… Are you awake yet?

This, just in. After all these years, I’ve finally figured out what’s wrong (or right) with me. I have Williams syndrome, AKA “Cocktail Party Syndrome”. No, this is not about my losing all my girly hormones and slowly morphing into a duplicitous Brian Williams evening news anchor-type, but rather it is about the wickedly interesting book I am reading by Jennifer Latson: The Boy Who Loved Too Much. Don’t be put off if you think the title sounds like a Lifetime movie of the week, it’s SO NOT the vibe.

The reason I like this book is not solely because I saw so much of myself and my daughters in it, it’s because I also saw so many New Yorkers in it—especially in the summer when all the diehard weirdos and eccentrics come out. People think New Yorkers aren’t friendly and it’s so not the case. Ours is a city where there’s so much day-to-day forced intimacy, we’re just trying to give each other a little space. I try to observe this custom, but it wasn’t always the case.

Once upon a time… when I was a little 4-year-old twerp back in the 1970s, my clueless hippie-billy parents would take us to the most racist restaurant in all of America. (I’ll tell you more about that later) So there I would be… totally ready, hyperactively bouncing from right foot to left foot and back to right, while a pastel-clad middle-aged hostess named Ruth scanned the floor for an open table. But Ruth had nothing on me.

As I would see strangers getting up from their mostly-finished meals, I would zip past my parents and the befuddled Ruth with her laminated menus and her toilet brush hair, and RACE toward the unwitting, grown-up patrons. Extending a hand like a friendly politician at a church social, I’d grin genuinely amazed up at their perplexed faces and exclaim, “How on earth did you know?!”

And then, I would slide like a batter into home plate right into their empty vinyl booth and start eating and drinking the leftover food on their plates. Yep.

“Pancakes and…” Sipping from the random stranger’s straw, “Vanilla Coke for breakfast! This is EXACTLY what I wanted!”

Of course, my horrified tiny bird of a mother would chase me down, flying past Ruth, my dad, and the bemused diners, chirping something like, “Holy sh*t, she’s acting just like a Starling!” and/or “You have to have better boundaries, little one!”

Starlings, I was always taught were the most charming but also the most troublesome birds in the ecosystem. They nest in all the wrong places. They occasionally cause planes to crash. Over the years, this lack of neurogenetic coding, my Starling coding as I called it, would make me vulnerable to a HEAP of issues and opportunities, but I have to say I just love Eli (the boy Latson shadowed) and I just love this book… probably too much. I write about NYC being the neurodiversity capital of the world. It’s cocktail party syndrome and everything in between. It’s books like Latson’s that we need more of these days, and kids like Eli we need to make sure can make their entrance.

“How on earth did you know?”

Thank you for writing this, lady! Stay rad – 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.