The Year I Set Myself on Fire

Greetings from The Overlook where I have been in a mad dash to finish my second book, a psych thriller code-named Project G. It’s sweltering out—like Do The Right Thing hot.

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July is the hardest month to stay in love with Manhattan. It’s like year nine of marriage when you really wish he’d just effing clean out the garage (for once) so that you can shoehorn the car in a hair from all of his unfinished manuscripts before it’s the depths of the Arctic winter again. But anytime you so much as even hint at this frog of a task, he starts yelling like Jerry Stiller from Seinfeld. July is usually a time of blatant abjection where all of the city’s humanity shows itself in its boldest, most disturbing hues. Especially on the subway, which is no great shakes right now as I’m sure you’ve all seen. A carnivalesque, pheromone-based mating ritual to be sure!

That said, the city does try its best (above ground) to make things fabulous with arts and culture. Opera practically comes to your stoop with F’Rosé popsicles. Shakespeare in the Parking Lot is the tailgate of the century.

I barely look at my phone, email or social media these days, but then suddenly, out of nowhere, I’ll get a crazy text from Ed saying, “Holy Crapdazzle! Turn on the telly… The world’s a shit-fire!” And so I do, and I’ll see something horrid like a nuclear Cheeto wrestling a logo, which will somehow remind me of the time I set myself on fire 20-odd years ago in grad school. It was the worst. I was living down in the East Village in this tiny 4th-floor walk-up apartment where it used to actually rain through the ceiling whenever my upstairs neighbor took a shower–making so that I actually had to take a brolly in the shower to take my own proper (clean) shower. I was under the most intense deadlines and What. An. Idiot. I was making both tea and coffee at the same time. For some reason, I needed both, and I leaned over the lit burner to grab the sugar (or something) in my highly flammable Wal-mart flannel shirt. “Hmmm, that’s an odd color flame: purple and green” I observed. “Then, holy shit! That’s me on fire!” Pat, pat, pat. Tries to blow it out (big mistake). Forgets the whole “Stop, drop and roll” exercise from 2nd grades and run screaming from your apartment into the grubby hallway, your cheap shirt now almost fully engulfed in flames, only to rip it off like The Hulk and inadvertently show off your latest, most experimental bra choice to all of your scary neighbors.

That’s the world right now. If only Chris Christie could have done like French and worn dark socks with sandals to sunbathe. Then while you could never excuse him, at least you could laugh at him. Come on Christie… you f*ckwad, either DO the right thing… or be the girl on the right.

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Hold on tight, Lovelies.  And don’t lean over any open flames. xoxo – GG

Why yes, I am a lefty ho…

Hello My Lovelies,

A quick post before the Cheeto-elect places his small, sweaty, orange, pussy-grabbing palm on a bible (leaving a stain, no doubt) and I morph back into a pre-existing condition—epilepsy. (My brain likes to spontaneously combust now and then. A genetic electrical issue, but what can you do?)

It goes without saying that there’s a definite buzz in the city this week. A reckoning humming… as though someone has strung high tension wires from skyscraper to tenement and back again. It’s a mood both distinctly electric and furtive. Like a burgeoning totalitarian regime, people pass each other on the street with expressions of crumpled worry… that say, “Are you one of us? Are you a… ahem… a friend? Oh, you’re not? Okay, no big!”

Just yesterday, I was trudging up Madison to the dentist in the freezing rain for my nine millionth root canal (that I cannot afford) when this homeless man came up to me and said, “Can I just tell you, I really like your boots?”

The snarky, jerky ne’er-do-well in my head replied, “Well then, clearly, I need to do some shopping!” (Only because these boots are from Costco. That’s right, the brand is “waterproof”)

But because New York is so bizarro-feeling these days, instead I said, “Thank you?”

And then, he launched into his whole elevator pitch, which when you’re a writer you do a lot of… but in my desire to be empathetic, I forgot that I still can’t make the right faces (post-accident) so I can mostly only look either terrified or uber cynical.

I must have looked really scared because a cabbie stopped traffic and called out to me, “Hey, are you okay??? Is he bothering you?”

And lo, in a voice that came out just like Greta Gerwig’s, I called back, “No, he just likes my footwear!” I’m a lefty ho, who’s as scared as the next person, right now.

But oy… it made me think that with all the protests and marches going on this week and going forward… we need to proceed thoughtfully, with compassion for those who think differently (or maybe not at all ) and keep a steady eye trained on intersectional politics… reversing stigma of all kinds, refraining from getting our collective dander up, being more inquisitive of each other and diffusing with humor wherever possible.

You just never know who is going to turn out to be a pal…

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If you plan to protest or march in NYC at any of the many efforts, just some handy tips!

Yours in solidarity, 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