Fires, Dream Logic, and Weeding with Parker Posey…

Hi there, Lovelies,

How the hell are you? Here’s a photo from the fires (taken by the exquisite Claire Kimple). Such a powerful, quiet reminder of the ‘tude very much needed right now.

I’m sure it’s all the scorched earth… but I keep having these wildly visceral time travel dreams where I’m plunked down throughout life at my different old homes. The last one was in Vermont at a house I’d really hesitated buying. In the dream, I’m there in full-body-sensory-Technicolor-smell-o-vision. When I land, it’s always very Dr. Who and hapless as I’m typically in the yard one or two houses over. It’s usually snowing and I have to clomp back over to our house in my jams where I’m suddenly having this very David Mamet-style conversation with the new residents about having lived there eons ago. I hesitated over buying this particular house because our kids were still dinky and it was too close to the road for my anxious-mom taste. In the dream, the new people have redone the kitchen all wrong—excoriating the very heart of the house—the butler’s pantry and the dumbwaiter. And I’m there shaking my head my head at the tremendous loss when all at once, I’m physically ripped out of the dream muscle by muscle only to wake up back in NYC with my whole body clenched and sweaty. Somehow, it all feels very much like Kelly Link dream logic + Quilt Theory. (You know, from physics and the multiverse?)

Things I’ve loved this week…

  • It’s college drop off time, which comes with all manner of anticipation, grief and feeling just plain lucky. I happened upon this hilarious podcast adventure, and thought maybe this next act is The Parker Posey Phase of My Life?
  • When I want to remember how much I love writing by hand, Laura van den Berg, author of The Third Hotel reminds me.
  • When I need solid fashion advice I check in with Grace at The Stripe.
  • When I’m at work and want to stop feeling like Ingrid Bergman from Gaslight.
  • When I want to repeat myself (like the broken record that I am) about how women in STEM can be such a kickass setting for a riveting psychological thriller, I think of only of Megan Abbott’s Give Me Your Hand.
  • When I need to recall that the word “Hobo” comes from the phrase “homeward bound” and that they had their own mythologized code.
  • Why New Yorkers (and many other humans of the world) hate slow walkers.
  • RIP Neil Simon, because whenever I need a lift from our overwhelming world I always watch Seems Like Old Times.

Ok, back to school everyone… xoxo – gg

PS – Best shot from Seems Like Old Times

LastShot

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Was in the middle of my BookExpo fairy tale but then, the earth…

Many in northern California are struggling and will be for a long time as it’s Armageddon everywhere you turn. Those wishing to donate to families affected by the Carr Fire can do so by texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

The strange thing… in the middle of it all, I’m reading The Overstory by Richard Powers and it’s the most gorgeous, relevant writing ever.

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Suffice it to say I’m so glad I still have page one my own efforts… a single copy.

 

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So, I’ll be right back?

Stay cool, Lovelies. xoxo – gg

 

Call of the Wild (From Siri With Love)

Hello, Lovelies! Don’t you LOVE waking up to a mean old white guy reckoning???

I also love that it’s finally cold enough in the city for me to wear my va-jay-jay coat! This is actually a super soft mom-coat that I got from Uniqlo last year—on sale. I call it that because it’s literally as soft and warm and great as the inside of a vagina. It’s like wearing one around your whole person. In fact, Uniqlo, you should really just re-brand the coat as that. (Just my two yen)

I don’t know about you but every now and then, I have these Liz Lemon-style montage moments where I decide to take charge of my life! Usually, they involve deciding to eat fewer cheese curls or to stop dating guys who look like pirates or to stop putting off some irksome chore around the house.

Yesterday’s montage manifested as finally deciding to clean the bugs out of the big overhead light in the kitchen. Ordinarily, this is a two-person job since a) I am a chick with limited upper body strength and b) I really don’t like bugs at all. Anything that skitters freaks me the fuck out. I once had to stop working on a horror film because just writing the death-by-bug scenes bothered me too much. But I’m feeling pretty boss these days after finishing the book, so there I am in the kitchen, on the step ladder, whispering to myself: “I’m not afraid, I’m not afraid, I’m in charge here. It’s just a bunch of little bug corpses. I was a Girl Scout blah-dee-blah…”

And I’m easing the unwieldy light panel down from the ceiling when my sock catches on a nail on one of the ladder’s steps and I start to fall backward. As I’m falling, I peer up over the edge of the light panel and the dead bugs (one of which includes a mid-sized Manhattan cockroach) are all sliding toward my wide open mouth which is, of course, now shouting, “Fuck, fuck, fuuuuuuuuuck…!!!”

At the same time, my phone, which is plugged in on the kitchen counter, blinks to life and Siri says, “Alisa, I would NEVER speak to you that way!”

And I’m so shocked by her out-of-the-blue, on-command humanity that I do this twisting cat-like sproing off the ladder, right out of my socks and land fine while also missing the whole mouthful of bugs. (Phew!)

Thank you, Siri, for the unexpected tone check? I’ll so take scolding over critters.

The last time I got that up close and personal with wildlife was when I was dealing with a band of very brazen raccoons in Glen Ellen, California. The artsy, walkable village some fifty miles North of San Francisco in the heart of the Sonoma wine country was once home to Jack London. At the behest of some dear friends, I’d gone there to hide out after two grim reconstructive surgeries. I wanted to write about what it felt like to be monstrous. I certainly looked the part back then. Because of the nature of my accident, I’d broken a number of teeth, but I had one tooth–a pointy canine–that stuck out sideways, almost perpendicular to the others. So deeply rooted down into the bone are human canines, there was no fixing it or even extracting it until the rest of my shattered face and jaw healed. For the time being, I was White Fang, living in Jack’s town near what was once known as Wolf House.

I wanted to make some wholesale changes in my life starting with finally getting a handle on my seizures. Alone in Glen Ellen, with only my despair, a bunch of heat-seeking raccoons, and my kindled brain for company, I started to re-read To Build a Fire, London’s seminal short story. There’s a scene where the character is beating his fist against the side of his leg to get feeling back and survive. I so related to that bit—the regaining of feeling or at least feeling more human than wild. I was worried I might not. Still, I wrote and wrote right to the very edge of my fear that winter. I am profoundly grateful to the family who allowed me to be a writer-in-residence there. With the recent spate of devastating wildfires in Glen Ellen, Napa, St. Helena, and Santa Rosa I just hope everyone is refinding their footing amid flashes of unexpected humanity–though not necessarily from Siri.

Stay rad, Lovelies and have a human day – xoxo – GG

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