I solemnly swear that I am up to no good…

Hello, Lovelies… Greetings from LA… Cozy den of narcissism that it is.

My eyes are about to fall out of my head from waaaaaay too much screen time. I have been working feverishly on a Christmas movie about what else… Pie. Hey, a girl’s gotta eat!

With the book tour for Gotham Girl Interrupted winding down, I have to confess, I did something slightly evil… I found out my nemesis was dissing me to booksellers all over the country… So, in every city that I went to, in every airport bookstore, in every chain, in every indie… wherever that guy was taking up lady shelf-space with his complainy, whiney, white-boy misery memoir…  I slipped a bookmark into his book redirecting readers to my book. TBH, I feel he perpetuates wildly negative stereotypes whereas I still believe humor opens the door for greater empathy which leads to broader mainstream understanding… above and beyond the grim woebot narrative. This pie is for that guy. My favorite part of the tour is still my interview with Jessimae Peluso from Sharp Tongue – Episode #150. If you haven’t had a chance to listen, let this help you snort-laugh on your way home today. 

For now, stay rad, stay warm, and stay safe. xoxo – gotham girl

 

 

 

 

 

 

Girl Meets Dirt

Hello, Lovelies, How the hell are you?

Greetings from the burning world… Yes, I’m coming to you live from the charred hinterlands of Shasta, California not far from the Oregon border—a place that feels like the way-way back of the region’s old-school family station wagon. I’m here writing about the apocalyptic wildfires from which many are still recovering, where makeshift tents, trailers, and rickety shacks pepper the blackened, wool-folded mountains. Everywhere you look… there’s just SO. MUCH. DIRT. I thought New York was dirty, but I’m wrong. I’m sure we all walk around with a fine coating of fecal matter on our face’s every day but it’s nothing like this. The other eerie thing… There are no birds.

To put a cherry on top of the irony sundae that is my all-too-meta-meta-life right now… The house I am staying in also caught fire this morning. Something to do with improper dishwasher wiring. It’s fine now, but for a stretch there, my audio cortices were tortured by way too many white guys grunting and arguing about what had actually gone awry. Much like an impacted wisdom tooth, there was the surgical removal of the troublesome appliance, followed by the sharp ka-thud of its carcass in the front yard. All the while, I’m yawning at them on the deck under a yolk-yellow sun, a sliver of belly smiling out from between my shrunken yoga top and flannel pajama bottoms. I never thought (of all people) I would tire of handsome firefighters, but I’m closing in. Mostly, I just want things to stop being on fire—my brain included—I am 82 days seizure-free.

One thing I never realized is how long the smoke and fire continue after a blaze is reported as being “contained”. It’s a totally Wagnerian aria of chainsaws, chippers, and heavy machinery. The process of controlled burning, bulldozing, tree-falling, land scraping, soil testing, and hydroseeding required to rebuild even smallest structure can feel eternal—it’s like the effing Ring Cycle. People are working crazy-hard. There’s a strength in them that feels bred-in-bone.

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Another consequence of the wildfires is that with the sudden presence of all the federal, state, and local officials, a whole host of once-hidden felons and petty criminals comes out of the woodwork—primarily because there is so much actual woodwork to do. Once thick with evergreens and generations of belligerence, you come to this part of the world to get lost and stay lost. Now it’s a mostly barren wasteland. Even the few trees left feel oddly temporary. Just here for a quick visit. There’s also a distinctly Carl Hiaasen-esque Florida vibe to the place. I keep waiting for an ornery redneck to jump out from one of the remaining shrubs with a decapitated Rottweiler head attached to his arm with some sort of rural tomfoolery in mind.

In other news, I’ve been working in an old garden shed that’s quite possibly the dirtiest, most delightful place I’ve ever worked. I may build my own when I finally get back to New York. In the meantime, I will be in Los Angeles tomorrow. If any of you lovelies happen to be in the area, I will be signing books at the National Walk to End Epilepsy on Feb 2 at the Rose Bowl. Details to follow!

Stay rad & stay safe! xoxo – Gotham Girl

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Featured photo courtesy of Jeremy Bishop

 

When the Thing on the Inside of Your Head is Now Suddenly on the Outside

And in your hand!!!

Hello, Lovelies, Pardon the intermission. California is still burning, but I very much want to finish this story…

To recap: it is a dark and stormy morning the opening day of BookExpo where my first book was being featured. Somehow all the galleys have gone missing, then been found in a trash compactor room on the Upper West Side by a mysterious woman who has tracked me down in a city of 8.53 million people via my daft little website, and now she’s walking up to me in the lobby of her office. She looks just like Nancy Drew—but with hot-nerd glasses. She even has Nancy’s hair-flippy-thing that I always try to do when I’m blowing out my crazy bird’s nest (except I just end up looking frizzy, like Cher from the Witches of Eastwick.)

She’s smiling as she opens a farmer’s market bag topped full of my little book. I flip to the dedication page, immediately wanting to nosedive into all the ink and paper and cry. I never thought SPAZ (the original title) would get this far. I wasn’t sure I had the… discipline. So, I’m wobbly and I don’t know how to thank this woman. It’s too early for drinking. I realize I should be Instagramming and twitscaping all the promotional moments that you’re supposed to do as a first-time author. I should be completely jumping for joy, but instead, I’m frozen as I stand there thinking, “Oh, my fucking God, what if she’s actually read the damn thing? She must know what an absolute kook-a-doo I am, what with my ridiculous bionic face, my psychedelic seizures, and yodeling for speech therapy? Holy cats! I’m going to have a seizure simply from signing my book about seizures!”

I think Alain de Botton said it best: “If we are not regularly deeply embarrassed by who we are, the journey to self-knowledge hasn’t begun.” I am suddenly deeply embarrassed and thanking this perfect stranger when out tumble the words: “Would you maybe… like one?”

She nods eagerly as I search my bag frantic for a pen. I find myself consciously having to steady my hand as I sign the galley. Am I even doing this right? I whisper to her, “This is the first book I’ve ever signed.” Her eyes widen to saucers.

Moments later, I’m schlepping past the lions of The New York Public Library toward the conference. The sky is still so dark and thunderous. Just as I reach Bryant Park, the fairy lights blink to life in the trees as if by some odd magic, and I realize right then, after all this time… I am finally a writer.

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Hold fast and stay rad, Lovelies. xoxo – gg

And Then I Spied Her…

Continuing on from yesterday…

She was a total badass with a smirk. It was a riot of thunder and lightning as I schlepped from Grand Central to our appointed public meeting spot.

Just who was this mystery woman? This patron saint of lost galleys? Obviously, she was conscientious and proactive. But would she be judgy? What if she’d already read the book and thought I was a complete kook-a-doo? Would she simply drop and dash?

I feel like the unboxing of your first book is a big-ass deal that should come with a certain amount of pomp & circumstance. When the thing that’s been inside your head for years finally exists outside of it in the actual world, you just want to commemorate the f*ck out of itI’d planned to live tweet my unboxing with our badass doorwoman, Vilma. I also thought Ed could film me skipping down Broadway in a musical version. Now, because of the USPS, schedules, and racing to BookExpo, I was missing out on all that joy. The whole thing would need to be re-enacted like a true crime series, that much was clear.

I texted her as I entered the dimly-lit Art Deco lobby and checked my rapidly frizzing hair for the zillionth time. Then, out of the corner of my eye, emerging from the last elevator on the left, I spied her…

TBC’d tomorrow… last, coolest, part. Stay rad, Lovelies. xoxo – gg

 

The Big Sleep…

Don’t you just love this picture of Joan Didion? She looks so vulnerable—like she just woke up from a nap.

Hi there, Lovelies. It’s 79 and gorgeous along the Hudson where I have been leaning out… way out over the last 6 weeks. Another shout from the cool, dark little corner of New York where the fan on my desk whirs away and I ponder over how to organize a new thriller tentatively titled MUSE WITCH BEAST. Again, all kudos and love to Jami Attenberg’s #1000wordsofsummer for fueling my creative sleep.

There’s a lot of connective tissue that remains to be woven across the bones of the monstrous creature but if I’ve learned anything at all from writing SPAZ (or Gotham Girl Interrupted as it’s now titled) it’s that the book you set out to write is rarely the book that gets written.

One minute you’re penning a heady little yarn about creativity, electricity, and the brain, the next you’re wading through the swampy musings of what it means to be the loudest mute lady in NYC, and now I’ve ended up with this very long thank you note to the people who’ve looked after me all these years of dealing with epilepsy. One thing I’ve noticed (and I don’t think I’m imagining it) is that as you edge closer and closer toward your release date, the more squirrelly people around you become. They’re entirely more careful about what they say in your presence. Their voices go up an octave, sharpening in this nervous, whistling-past-the-graveyard kind of way. It’s as if they are preparing to be completely horrified by some revelation, embarrassment, or cringe-worthy detail you may have included about them. Some go radio-silent altogether. It’s surreal.

There’s this awful story/rumor that came across my feed during final editing about a memoirist who wrote a tell-all of her marriage. Apparently, her husband read it and immediately committed suicide. The prospect of any reader feeling driven toward such tragic action by anything I might jot down completely terrifies me. We’re all unreliable narrators (even of our own stories) and what if we inadvertently trigger someone or everyone? Should there be some kind of warning label like at the beginning of Incredibles 2? It keeps me up at night. The thing I woke up to however during the writing process is that while my own style of comedy often vacillates between ridiculous self-deference and subversive snark, the target is always just me. I think I’d always rather have everyone else coming off clever and effing hilarious.

I want to ask other comedians and writers about this… I especially want to ask Ottessa Moshfegh if people she knows recognize themselves in her books, or is it all some kind of wild fictitious channeling? I am reading her latest about a white girl with a trust fund who self-medicates to the point of a near-continuous blackout in the hopes of changing her life in her sleep. Who knew self-destruction could be so entertaining? There are many days I would like to nap my way to a better existence.

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Her voice is intoxicating—with zero fear of the grotesque. She also portrays privilege in a manner that makes it hard to look away.

Alas, no big sleep for any of us yet…  Get outside today, Lovelies – XOXO – GG

Be the Unlikable Female Narrator You Long to See in the World…

Even if it is a cat. Seriously, Maris Kreizman uttered the above words last week and, bless her heart if they haven’t become my goddamn rallying cry.

Hi there, Lovelies. How the hell are you?

I have, quite literally, been trying to get down with my bad self… to conjure up the very worst person I could conceive of for my next book—a most rageful, strange, and despicable girl. I need her to possess just enough heartless psychopathy but without being too creepy-cool—though don’t you just LOVE Killing Eve on BBC America? I retreat often the Beeb for emotional support viewing given the rollicking media climate stateside.

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I also tend to prefer my killers a little more hapless and awkward while still fully owning their unfettered self-righteous indignation. My girl needs to stub her toe on the ottoman in the middle of a supremely venomous diatribe. She never quite makes a clean getaway. If anything, she makes a slightly gross one. I generally know that the experiment is working if I’ve frightened Ed or my dad. Fortunately, the ritual never lasts for more than a day or so…  either because I’m morphing into a nap-oriented, Frankie-type or something entirely lovely happens like this…

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I had no idea it was even going up. And of course, I still want a different subtitle…

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Mostly because I think of this book as equal parts epilepsy, anxiety, and depression… minus much of the unending despair you usually see associated with epilepsy (or all the) Sick Lit narratives. Evidently, I lost this round, but maybe it’s not the end of the world. Maybe it’s the beginning. #SickGirlFunny?

Speaking of beginnings, if you have a chance to get outside today, Manhattan is practically a fresh-washed, Technicolor™ movie musical…

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I SO want to challenge a complete stranger to Bananagrams in Bryant Park but I have to stay inside at my desk and channel pissed-off lady criminals. I am in writer jail. Think Lorelai Gilmore goes a bit Grey Gardens. Have a meaningful day, people. Hold fast and don’t get chronic dry eye from Clockwork Orange-ing the news… xoxo – gg

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When Your Subconscious is a Postal Worker/Mob Boss Named ‘Bruce’…

Morning, Lovelies…

Oh. My. God. What do you do when your subconscious is a postal worker/mob boss named Bruce who chases you around your own damn dreams with copies of a book you would never presume/deign to write?

All night long… Bruce kept showing up with bound galleys of Gotham Girl, Interrupted that had these horrifying Tony Robbins-esque subtitles. Everywhere I looked words like, “success” and “empowerment” were jumping off the cover. It was the worst. And I kept handing the book back to him, trying to explain, “This is not me, Bruce! I’m not qualified to talk about that stuff. I’m not a self-help writer. If anything, I’m a self-destruct one.”

But he wouldn’t listen… this guy is torturing me. Well, I am gonna shut it down, Bruce. I’m making a new rule: I/you can only think/dream about my/your next book—a novel called Muse.Witch.Beast. Repeat after me, mister… Muse.Witch.Beast, Muse.Witch.Beast, and so on.

Happy book birthday to Meaghan O’Connell… So excited to read this one because the ordinary still has so much to teach us all.

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Have a meaningful day, people… xoxo – gg