Day 21 of the Writer’s Retreat. Change Status to…

Phew!!!…  Okay, yesterday was a close one… the thought of having spent years on a book only to have it ruined with a seven-word subtitle—made this girl pretty squirrelly. I just feel like anybody curious enough to pick up my book in a store or online should feel like a welcome guest… They need snacks and like-minded company. They should never say to themselves, “Holy cats!!! I am SO in the wrong place!” Thank God funny, pithy sanity is prevailing (for the moment). I never imagined there could be such a tussle over things like subtitles…

I also want readers to feel like they could be me. On any given day, at any moment, their comfy brains could suddenly just decide to rebel for whatever reason—genetics, hormones, immunological things, stress, etc. As a single mom with epilepsy, struggling to make ends meet, I used to look around at the privileged, married moms in the private school where my daughter went and think, any one of you could suddenly be me. Any day. Strangely, it helped me to accept them (and our situation) a little more… and then, of course, I also just loved these other moms. Even the judgy ones whose daughters I could see were on the cusp of morphing into mean girls. But blerg… it’s so freakin’ complicated and intersectional and there’s no one right way to do things.

In the meantime, it’s beautiful as hell here and Gary (the beaver) was just looking over at me like, “Why aren’t you writing faster?” He’s finishing a late brunch… that guy’s a day drinker if there ever was one…

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In the meantime, I am being a good citizen and filling out all of my book marketing forms with frequent flyer numbers to Kenny Loggins and a whole marathon Yacht Rock playlist. Stay rad, Lovelies…  xoxo – GG

 

Homesick For Another World?

Hello Lovelies,

Here we are again… weathering still another week of not-so-subtle brutalities of the world. I don’t know about you, but I have yet to bleach the image of Steve Bannon as some kind of auto erotic yogi from my mind’s eye.

Since last we spoke, the nation has no doubt unclenched its universal anus over the scary healthcare repeal, the Mooch has come and gone faster than New York Fashion Week and with a far less pleasant finale. Who in his right mind blow-dials The New Yorker? The whole script strains credulity and possesses all the trappings of a melanin-deprived telenovela.

Of course, telenovelas and soaps are governed by the three T’s: trauma, talk, and tears. Something big happens to a character. She or he texts/calls a frienemy to recount it. The two make a rendezvous to review the particulars again upon which tears ensue. Then, the director shouts “Cut! Everybody safely back to one,” and they go again. The one rule of the telenovela writer is to TELL, don’t bother to show, primarily because telling is fast (and cheap) to crank out on a daily basis. And yet, the above bottle does not seem quite big enough for even the fate-and-fury writers of the current Whitehouse.

Yes, all the telling and retelling inoculates us from trauma, which gives some solace, because no one in a telenovela is ever permitted to be content for more than oh say… 3-5 minutes. If you meet your soulmate in a soap script, he’ll be in a serious accident and not recognize you the very next day. As soon as he recovers his memory and haltingly utters your name from the hospital bed, his identical long-lost cousin will arrive on the scene to set him up as the Patsy in a hideous crime, only to have another guy who has secretly adored you for forever but whom you’ve kept in the friend zone, selflessly sleuths his way into getting your amnesiac soul mate exonerated, just as you then instantly become the target of Russian oligarch money launderers.

Things repeat until you hit a critical mass of tens of millions of viewers all mesmerized by a narrative wrap-up that somehow satisfies their deep collective longing all while morphing into a new set of miseries. Sometimes the tears get extra-physical and you even have Joan Collins and Linda Evans fight-clubbing it out in a lily pond… that was something to put the kids down early for.

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But doesn’t all of it make you homesick for another world? (not the soap opera itself) but an actual other world? Hello, Brian Greene? Where is string theory when we need it?

I’ve been trying ever so hard to see the world through book-colored glasses since I am unable to run away to France with its nation of cheese geniuses and handsome statesmen who appreciate older blonde ladies. With this in mind, I’ve been reading Ottessa Moshfegh’s collection of stories with the same marvelous title.

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These existential vignettes are like going to that dirty old dive bar out on the far edge of town, the one you never stopped loving. Maybe you found your name scrawled in a bathroom stall there with some pithy, nasty hyperbole that did you proud. Maybe it’s the kind that serves up a sweet-bitter cocktail with just enough orange oil in between laugh-out-loud rants. Moshfegh’s voice is a dark, funny razor cutting away at oh-so-human foibles. The characters are pimply, brash, wildly sullen and then whisper-sweet-tender. It’s uncomfortable at times, but there’s also a quietude in this book that runs completely counter the current melodramas of our world. You’ll fly through reading it and you’ll remember how you are all the good and all the bad rolled up in one. You virtuous, tasty taco, you.

As I write this, something else crazy is probably happening. I can’t look without another round of George Benson. Some of you have written to ask if I have forgiven McCain for his voting acrobatics and the short answer is: I haven’t. I don’t want any one white guy having that much power over our healthcare… not now, not ever.

Stay rad, Lovelies – xoxo – GG

P.S. Is this not the best business card ever? These were the real mavericks of last week.

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Girls Gone Mild

Morning Lovelies,

Remember back when the above was considered bad?

Oh, for those gentler days when you could take a silent drag alongside your repressed, simmering 1960s ice queen of a mother and know that somehow… things were going to be okay… that all the consequences of female appetite, desire, angst, ambition, anxiety, and murky existential despair could be held at bay for 3-5 minutes and then slowly dissipate, wafting away on an ethereal ribbon of smoke. Oh, for a cigarette.

If the alt-reality of the current world… with people hurling trash cans at each other in the streets while our ridiculous supreme leader proves himself to be messier than a woo-woo girl after bottomless mimosas at brunch. Then, there’s endlessly charming douche-bro Elon Musk waxing poetic about his damn Hyperloop… Seriously, does the man not realize? We can’t even get the subway to work in New York City! We’re not building a 29-minute train from here to DC. We just want to get to Brooklyn… If all of this makes you want to shelter in place and stream Yacht Rock, rest assured you are not alone.

[Sidebar: Holy Proustian flashbacks! I finally figured out where my guy “type” comes from… it’s not from pirates after all! It’s from Yacht Rock! When I was 7, apparently I told my mom I was going to marry Kenny Loggins, live on a farm and be his muse. I think I thought I was Stevie Nix??? So much for that plan.]

In any case, if cigarettes and Kenny are not your jam, DO try Plum Sykes’s recent gem Party Girls Die in Pearls, which I devoured it in 2 sweltering days. Lordy, this girl gives good Beach:

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Without blathering on too much… It’s Whit Stillman meets Miss Marple meets Gossip Girl and they all venture to Oxford to solve addressable problems in late 80s couture. Sykes’s intrepid sleuth, Ursula, gives us curiosity without consequences. Initially, some of the Dickensian character names threw the cynic in me, but it’s pure laugh-out-loud escapism where you also learn a little Latin and are equally comforted by both Plain Granny and Vain Granny. Most of all, I just wanted to meet these Girls-Gone-Mild characters again… if only to learn more of their quirks, charms, faults, and traditions. There’s an innocence here that’s so needed in New York right now. It’s also exactly what you want in a crime series, so am looking forward to the next one.

Just a belated antidote for a mess of a week. For now, I leave you with this snap of Sean Spicer fleeing the Whitehouse—most certainly on his way to shacking up with Kenny.

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Stay rad, Lovelies – xoxo – GG

P.S. If you are seeing doubled-up paragraphs in these posts, sincerest apologies. I think it’s something to do with WordPress, so trying to find a web pixie to sort it out.