My Life as a Villainess…

Hiiii, Lovelies,

Day 906,348-ish of quarantine… How the hell are you?

Are you done with subsisting on internet-delivered raspberries in between strange dreams where you’re quarantining with Oprah, and she menacingly tells you that you’ve overstayed your welcome? (SO scary). And only then does it occur to you… it’s actually an O-pocalypse?

Maybe you’ve realized holding a glass of wine in EACH hand is an excellent way to keep from accidentally touching your face? (Thanks, Larry Mirisch) Or you’re worried that your new ZOOM background looks a little too much like this:

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Maybe you’re feeling a tad cramped and so just informed your housemate that you’ll be in the microwave for the next foreseeable future? Meanwhile, some of our nearest and dearest are fighting for, or have lost, their lives. This disease is a trickster if there ever was one…

In the middle of it all, during what should be a time of global virtual solidarity… my social media was hacked. It’s not the only time it’s happened. And while I’m the first to admit to having a completely salty tongue, the hacker’s targeted and, dare I say, voluminous use of the c-word shocked even me. It was like watching an evil tennis match and having no power to call a time-out. It felt like a complete violation and left me with crazy anxiety. Most of all, it left me with a profound sense of loneliness. Honestly, how do full-time trolls manage? Also, I’d like to think that my sharp tongue has softened over the years from a tone of defiant, seething lady-rage to one that’s more along the lines of a gently grumpy hedgehog who snarfs around saying, “Seriously, man?” when she doesn’t agree with something.

That said, I’ve been thinking a great deal about my life as a villainess… Not only because I’m SO looking forward to Laura Lippman’s forthcoming essay collection with the same glorious title, but because my next book Rascal: Stories for Getting in Trouble is all about being a little bit bad, about growing up with lousy impulse control, and willingly indulging in morally dubious decisionmaking after decades of people-pleasing perfectionism…

No, to be a true villain, I feel like you must be cast as one and then lean WAY into it. Even the word’s old French roots point to a caste system and being “low-born or of rustic origin.” So much malicious intent is then layered on in less-nuanced representations of the villain… That’s not me. Being mean is too exhausting. I’m far too lazy for all that. Better to expend one’s finite energy on some joy at this point. That said, Rascal also delves into unintended consequences, of trying to do the oft misperceived “right thing” and inadvertently messing things up in a most spectacular way. Perhaps, having my tiny-potato voice so wholly hijacked this week will be yet another chapter in this vein.

In the meantime, a few things that struck me over the past few days…

The way televisual and teaching culture is changing is revealing some marvelous talents. Check out this wonderful experiment when writer and professor, Dan Chiasson, responds to a classified ad in the New York Review of Books.

Then, there’s Rebecca Solnit on the changing nature of hope and connection amid COVID_19 which somehow gave me room to breathe this week, albeit under a mask.

Fran Lebowitz on never leaving New York City… God, I love this woman. I am so happy she is our “designated” New Yorker.

If you haven’t already seen Fleabag Live benefitting COVID-19, it’s *gasp* fabulous and delightfully-darkly different from the series.

3 Fish Studios has designed this incredible “We can do hard things” tee-shirt to provide PPE and assist our most vulnerable community members.

On a more practical front… Chanel Reynolds’ book: What Matters Most: The Get Your Shit Together Guide to Wills, Money, Insurance, and Life’s ‘What-ifs’ draws on her incredibly personal experience of losing her husband, plus everything she learned in the process of putting life back together again. I feel like we could all use a bit of this.

And if you didn’t see it yesterday, Ingrid Ostby has done this hilarious send-up of…

And if you are in need of more levity… you can always buy my ridiculous book and support a local, independent bookstore.  If you post your receipt, I will write you a personal note thanking you and, if you’d like, include a pie recipe 🙂

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In the meantime, like what you’re reading? Please forward it to your darling friends who’ve run out content (LOL). You can find me on the web here. You can find me on Twitter here. You can find me on Instagram here. No need to find me in real life. Sadly, that’s not how this operation works anymore 😦

Stay safe, Lovelies – xoxo – gg

Thursday. What a Concept.

Maybe it’s because the one time I was chill in life… things went very badly. Or maybe it’s just this week that’s always an anxious-existential-emotional stewpot for me.

Let’s review…  Sunday: you began with so much outlandish bliss… it’s like that Esthero song from the perennially underrated Down With Love. Everyone should live this song.

Monday gets even better at work… because sometimes you get a writing note that’s the fucking skeleton key to unlock all the bits you’ve been struggling with over a whole season of work. You bounce around the office with such long-legged joy until an assistant tells you have something on your chin and you realize it’s a chapped spot—a little soul patch where a potential squeeze may have kissed you too much just 24 hours prior. You moisturize.

Tuesday becomes slightly more laughable when said squeeze sends you this as a present… you love presents.

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And in the back of your mind, you wonder if he’s trying to tell you something about himself… and/or whether (like Oprah or Toni) you should listen. OR maybe he’s just mistaken you for being wicked-green—when underneath it all you have intense lady-balls.

Wednesday comes and it’s the day when all the mythologies you built up about the one city you always thought would save you… and it still feels broken. It’s the day you shielded your kids from every media outlet possible, only to have them spout frighteningly uncanny observations the very next day. A few years later, this would also be the date your husband says, “I can’t do this anymore,” after just moving you to a brand new city where you neither like or know anyone. In the meantime, you look around at people whose marriages have endured… only to lose their love to a tragic illness while another couple (yes, they’re both writers) celebrates an anniversary in a way you now strangely long for…

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but only with someone who’s really true and good. It’s also a day where you read articles like this one and realize politics will always leave you befuddled and cynical.

And then, you get to Thursday… your assistant tells you the chafe on your chin has healed nicely and you realize after all these years, maybe your rag and bone heart has done so as well. And you think about dyeing your hair some autumnal shade… like Natasha’s. Can you still get away with it? You poll your girlfriends, who all hesitate…

I’m not sure yet…  Much work to do. Stay rad, lovelies – xoxo – gg

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