In the City That Never Sleeps, You Will Send Notes Like This…

… at least once during your tenure living here.

It will no doubt be to a couple you actually really like or wanted to like (before their make-up nookie scared you off.) And as much as you will pen the note out of neighborly courtesy, you will also send it as a means of procrastinating because errrmagerrd… Writing a book is crazy hard. No wonder folks hightail it to the country in a sweaty attempt to channel the ghost of E.B. White in his boathouse. No man (or woman) ever looked more at ease in what he/she is doing.

No person ever looked more at ease with what he/she was doing.

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Wishing you all a happy Monday… no matter what boathouse you find yourself in.

XOXO – GG

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

The Gone Girl Guide to Gotham Re-Entry!

Cartoon by the amazing Allie Brosh (hyperboleandahalf.com)

So…  you’ve been gone girl… out roaming the world… making up dark, snarky zingers and plots for TV and print… pretending you’re Jack London… and that you don’t notice all the squirrel-on-squirrel action going on at the fabulously bucolic writer’s camp you’ve been at for months now. (And yes, squirrel-on-squirrel rhymes with girl-on-girl… haha… what are you… 8 in guy-years?) How do you come back to city life? I think it starts a little (or a lot) like the above… with an angry gypsy-librarian-type telling you off…  That’s what this week’s posts are about… re-entry. Still, so, SO glad to be home.

xoxo – GG

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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

 

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

The Best Business Card Ever…

Today, I am happier than a bird with a french fry.

And not just any old fry–mind you–but Disco Fries (with cheese & gravy!)

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My BGFE (best-guy-friend-ever) just gave me the ultimate business card (above) from a real, live SPY! I am completely adopting/adapting as it’s exactly where I’m at right now.

He also came over and installed a shower massage in my tub. I may never leave the house again 🙂

I just don’t understand why, in the 21st century, all showers don’t automatically come with them? They’re so necessary and pleasant… and you get SO LITTLE in NYC apartments. Seriously. I live in a stairwell for $2750–you’d think they’d at least throw in a handheld shower to make up for the fact that the bathroom is in the kitchen and I can turn my neighbor’s TV off with my remote. PLUS, now that the Mets are winning, New Yorkers everywhere need to be able to get in those hard to reach places…

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Gotta love the underdog. Go METS!!!

I’m also on a new project… very dear to my person because it’s cause-related instead of writing about the Kardashians… and how women now love Kim K because prego… she’s like the Hindenburg… just like the rest of us. Here’s a hint of it:


Lastly, and this is quasi-nsfw… I don’t know why, but these v-mojis designed by Erin Tobey made me so laugh-happy…

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I think… based on all those years of poring over Our Bodies, Ourselves… I’m bottom row center… Kind’a flowery. Which va-jay-jay are you? Don’t be shy New York 🙂

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

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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
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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

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

Granny Panties, Bitch Slap Coffee and a Hundred New Yorkers…

Imma come right out and say it… er repeat it… I just want girls to have ALL the things! It has been a good week for women’s hineys here in Gotham.

~ Mayan Toledano

Photo by the amazing Mayan Toledano of itsemeandyou.com

Between the return of the granny panty and the full-bush Brazilian wax… I’m feeling pretty righteous. No doubt, everyone has read the NY Times piece on the granny panty’s stunning comeback… Ladies, set your crotch free and cry hallelujah! I have been voting for this one since I first put on my real granny’s panties… What? I was 4, it was laundry day and funny…and fun. (They were so big they came up to my chin!)

The cherry on top of that literal cherry is that NYC has entered the era of the full-bush Brazilian wax… To be clear, this is when the butt strip (a technical term… and I’m down with it) and bikini line are waxed, but the technician leaves a full bush on the outer labia–rendering the process ever so much more bearable. (You don’t even need to drink!) This is bigger than mere Boho nostalgia people… this is about self-determination and forgiveness… your hoozie is already awesome, it always has been, so wax like nobody’s watching! (or not at all… straightjackets of acceptable womanhood be damned)

New Yorkers know about forgiveness… you see it thousands of times a day in the streets… Subway deodorant fails, opera-singing neighbors, people who missed the Obama PSA and manage to sneeze directly into your mouth, dog poo skid marks on the sidewalk… the trace evidence of some poor sucker simultaneously cursing and forgiving his way down the street. Pseudo intellectual TV shows like True Detective make the case that there’s no such thing as forgiveness–only short memories and forgetting–time is a flat circle, blah, blah, blah…

Forgiveness is intentional. You have to mean it and express it for it to be a thing. (You don’t necessarily have to deserve it) The universal sign of it is the smile. They say New Yorkers don’t smile… that there’s the whole rule of not-looking, of minding your own business. Not so. The lady who knocks into you at Zabar’s sheepishly flashes one, you return it–a momentary connection, a split second of reciprocity and all is forgiven. Yes, in Grand Central, at rush hour, it’s more of a tacit thing, but it’s this ability not just just to roll with things, but to forgive the sins of the city and its people, moment-by-moment that seems a prerequisite for living here… We even have the Dad Mayor… who forgives constantly. Some say too much. I bet he wears granny panties. (People are actually irritated that he’s so reasonable, but that’s for another post…)

I notice it more than ever now that I can’t smile. It’s 3 weeks since the surgery, and while I feel pretty decent… i.e., everyday, I wake up at 7, ply myself with coffee and go to the gym where Marvin has me lifting weights and things. He says, now that I no longer have “Mom-bod” it’s the perfect time. And it’s true, I am pretty little as of late. I’m sure the “straw” diet has helped, but he also says months and months of no booze beforehand will do that to a person too… I don’t know what happened. It was like when I was pregnant… I was just going along when suddenly, one day… wine tasted like complete ass. Now, for a girl who spent her early kid-hood in Sonoma, playing tag in the vineyards, whose family still makes wine, it would seem a bit of a sacrilege, but go figure… So, I feel good, but I still can’t smile or talk much. I have about an hour’s worth of words in me… daily. And while I can totally deal with a mostly-silent, Amelie existence, the not-smiling-part suuuuuuuuuuuuuucks.

Why? Because it means I can no longer take part in those critical moments of street forgiveness/redemption. I can’t smile back. I recently read an essay somewhere that women who smile are less successful business, that more than anything, a woman needs to bring an inscrutable game face. I hate this idea. It’s worse than a thong. I can’t stay like Kirk Douglas… Not for all the money in the world. Walter (my oral surgeon whose real name is Dr. Ira Sturman, the Oliver Sacks of maxillofacial stuff) and his nurse will do anything to make me laugh, smile and/or open my mouth at this point. Yesterday, they presented me with this:

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Today, I’ll go out to do errands in a bit (in my granny panties, yes) and I just hope a hundred New Yorkers bump into me, step on my toes and steal my cab… I hope that somehow the city can bitch slap a smile back onto my face. But before I do that, a bunch of you have written in wanting to know actual, useful things about the city… I’m not very good at that, but friends of mine are… so am posting next…. I swear.

xx – gg

The envelope… if you please

In the words of another funny writer I can’t remember right now… Imma let you finish Harper Lee… Because I got somethin’ good comin’! I wrote so much yesterday… Words I actually like (for a change)!

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This does not happen often–especially when writing for TV. I used to have a real beef with writers like Annie Dillard (grrr…) … getting awards for ambling around creeks and blathering on about bugs…. so I’ll avoid her whole bit about killing one’s darlings, and just say that TV writing’s a lot like skeet shooting… you can’t get too precious about your clay ducks or you are as screwed as a hot trannie hooker during Fleet Week… Mixed metaphors… weak… Aaron Sorkin would so shoot my duck. Most of my decent writing happens al fresco this time of year. E.B. White once wrote, “In summer, the city contains (except for tourists) only die-hards and authentic characters… the town has a somewhat relaxed air, and one can lie in a loincloth, gasping and remembering things.” It is so exactly that… 75, the faint scent of piss and delicious hot dog water on the breeze… My be-suited neighbor is lounging luxuriously 2 doors down on his stoop. Jacket off, cigar in hand, he still wears a bright pink bow tie from the office. He nods cordially to me… lighting up. This is his Friday ritual. I attempt a smile, but make no real concerted effort to disrupt his stinky bliss with smalltalk. Instead, I turn toward the park. Walking the Jackie O reservoir is where I do my best writing. I used to irritate the heck out of an old squeeze with these walks. He always wanted me to jog with him… and talk.  Oof… it was the worst… I could never quite explain to him that it’s not that I’m lazy… i’m really, truly not… it’s the envelope I would end up with at the end of every one of these solitary sojourns. Just clears my head like nothing else…making room for new words and it pays the bills. Sometimes. Across the street now, it is noisy and cheerful as a large-and-in-charge mama shouts to her sproinging tot… “Pull yo pants up baby boy! We don’t want yo hope and glory showin!” Just then, my dry cleaner sidles up and we exchange pleasantries… He tells me I still sound like Kirk Douglas.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MAY 08:  Actor Kirk Douglas presents onstage at the Anti-Defamation League Centennial Entertainment Industry Awards Dinner Honoring Jeffrey Katzenberg at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on May 8, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Michael Kovac/WireImage)

I guffaw, tell him to f*ck off and hail Spartacus… and then I continue on. Happy long weekend everyone 🙂 xx – gg