Saturday, November 29, 2003


the belgium effect.

this is my friend kevin, who took me on a such an elegant whirlwind of fine food and better conversation and very best paris the last time i was in his town that i didn't even mind missing my high school prom in 1994. he was travelling to brussels that weekend (last time i was in paris, that is, not back in the time of my prom), and i've always been sorry i couldn't come along and see. special thanks to mcsweeney's for making me feel like i was really there.

Friday, November 28, 2003


well, little timmy . . . let me tell you.

the story of the first thanksgiving is our real anniversary. the monkey and i made plans to spend wednesday midnight until friday evening call time only with us, and no other people, because it was the thing we most wanted in the world. we stayed in bed until three, eating bagels and doing the crossword. we made the little birds in the oven, and he let me help, and i had to go buy a saucepan at bartell's for the green beans, and he put bourbon in the potatoes. but the whole day, the whole time of it, we were smashed up against each other as fully as we could do it, because no amount of close was enough. the next day i felt like i had the print of him embossed on me. thanksgiving was the falling in love holiday. the day i fell so hard i forgot to call my mother on a family holiday. it was the best day i have ever had.

yesterday was fine and low key, and involved friends, and my learning to get away with calling a jackass a jackass at a party and get away with it. the best parts of it, though, are the echoes of the first year present all through it. and somehow it's stronger this morning. he's right here on the couch. i'm touching him with my feet. i thought i might never have anything like this.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003


for reals.

i don't know what i was thinking. i get audition listings from a newspaper, and, frankly . . . they often leave a lot to be desired. i thought when i moved to new york i could, i don't know, sign up somewhere to audition for off-broadway plays. really, though, what you get from the paper is crap. mostly. it's very daunting.

so sometimes i end up submitting myself for stuff i don't really want to do. i got an email today from a reality show--a proposed cable show, nothing you'd recognize--asking if i wanted to come in for ten minutes and talk about my "relationship problems" on camera. for fifty bucks.

no. god. i certainly don't.


danke schoen, darling. clink.

today, i go to yoga.

(me: "is this class appropriate for all levels?"
guy on phone: "all our classes are open-level."
me: "i'm perturbed that the teacher's c.v. says she aims the class towards professional dancers."
g-o-p: "yeah, don't worry about that."
me: " . . . uh, okay.")

today, i meet the best one for some appliance-shopping.

today, we drink.

today, after drinking, i do the thanksgiving shopping in the food emporium in the union square station. i will be rubbing elbows with harried career women from all over new york's eastside!

i am armed with sixty dollars. the pumpkin cheesecake will prevail. it is, howyousay, go time.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003


last week, on . . .

so. one vicodin and one scotch down, one episode of six feet under to go.

let no one say that the move to new york has made me a hermit. i'm just saying, who needs to go out? look what i got:

the monkey is making me popcorn, telling me how the sixty-nine cent bag of JollyPop loves him, and told him so in a few certain words he quoted, and strangely, the popcorn is from Liverpool.

downstairs, crazy Racist Dixie is getting high. i know because the entire building smells like bud. it did yesterday, too. RD has not previously gotten high that i could smell, so i'm wondering what's going on. i listened at the door for a full minute on my way back with the vegetables, and it seemed a party was going on and they were listening to that police show, Cops. i wonder if they're celebrating/mourning that KKK guy accidently shooting someone in the head in what must be the stupidest act of violence to be the fault of someone with such terrible faults in at least a week.

ssshh. the episode is starting. talk to you later.


hey, jude.

sarah b. writes about missing driving. i miss it, too. particularly the excellent singing that went with it, and the occasional cigarette and diet coke with the window open that helped me get to olympia without falling asleep.

last night was good, good cheap afghan food in the village with someone who is old enough to have known me when, but new enough to be full of the surprises that mean you're getting to know someone. i missed that possibly even more than driving. the restaurant was almost completely red inside, and there was christmas radio piped in. we had eggplant and she told me about getting engaged. she also showed me the bar with two-fifty beers and free popcorn.

not to be maudlin--i mean, i feel pretty good--but i wonder if this was the thanksgiving year i would have starved unless the natives taught me to plant rotting fish with my corn.

Monday, November 24, 2003


black is the color of my true love's hair.

welp, i'm still not sleeping, i do feel better. i got a call today from a long lost friend who left for new york to go to midwifery school. she's a particularly straight shooter, and i'm looking forward to having a beer with her. she's an antidote.

today was going to be the last day of this insufferable student film project i'm involved in. the filmmaker is this nice young woman who's trying to get into school--i'm involved because she's the friend of a friend, and i've been looking for low-profile film projects to hone skills on, but really this project and i could hardly be poorer matched. she called last night to say she'd lost most of our first morning's work, and that we needed to reshoot. then i got ten minutes of notes. i feel like telling her, you know, if you invoke reese witherspoon's name one more time by way of example, i will quit this psuedo-film and leave you to try to attract her with the crappy script, absent pay and lack of competent direction that you are currently providing me.

however, i should be kinder. not least because there was an accident today. the director i complained about above, who is actually a pretty cool person, hit a child on her bicycle while she was hurrying back to our set in the park. the poor kid had to go to the hospital in the ambulance, and said director was of course inconsolable. i'm thinking good thoughts for the kid.

and i'm going to have a beer in manhattan with my long lost midwife.

Sunday, November 23, 2003


speaking my truth near Times Square.

today, the kind folks who are publishing my work in the anthology sent me my contract to sign. turns out i get a copy of the book and thirty-five bucks. nothing says, "professional writer" like thirty five cold clams in cash money, friend.

that piece is not what i'll be reading at TIXE TIXE (pronounced, appropriately, pixie), near times square, on the evening of december 6. i'll be reading my fiction in the company of some talented and attractive writers, including maud and sue, who old-hat readers will remember as the author of The Carpet Foam Story. i have it on good authority that there is a strong chance TCFS will be read aloud on the sixth. please do come.

oh, i feel better. it's been melancholy, including a couple of evenings recently that made me want to head spinning back to a doctor, but i'm okay. we'll figure it out. and i'm happy. all's right enough with my world.

Saturday, November 22, 2003


it's not there.

i can't sleep, i can't sleep i can't sleep.

today i realized i've been pretending this is transitory problem, but really, i can remember only one night since i got here in which i didn't have a sleeping problem. once i finally get to sleep at night, i've been waking up between three and five every morning, staying awake for a few hours. it's parly why i've been sleeping so late--if i can stay in bed until ten, i can go back to sleep for a couple hours.

i'm exhausted. and i'm mad. and impotent . . . nothing i'm trying works. i guess it's time for drugs.

i'm scared. not sleeping in a new place means it's not going well, and i have a vested interest in this going well.


Friday, November 21, 2003


and overall champeen.

here's how good it is:

after a bad, bad night that was my fault, he met my apology with an apology, and the next evening bought the japanese food.

in this house, even jackasses get hugs.

Thursday, November 20, 2003


life will make a liar of you.

it's funny; when the monkey was first getting divorced, i remember saying to the best one, "you know, it's really only a matter of time before he slips up and calls me [ex-wife's name]." i was willing myself not to freak out.

in the year since then, he has never once called me by her name.

i, however, have called him "Dad" twice.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003


right out of my mouth.

dear sonya,

one word answers shaped like forks are what i'm afraid of, too.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003


east of eden.

there are some who would find this sacreligious.

and then there are some who would say to those some, why don't you just scoot that girdle off and hit it like the good lord intended?

Monday, November 17, 2003


it can suck without being a sucking chest wound.

today i was thinking, why do i get sort of itchy and uptight--and feverishly unsatisfied--every, like, fourth day? should i be writing more? am i unhappy with the monkey? should i take a vacation? do i have a cold?

i think i know. the first year in a new place is like walking around with a superficial wound. you're not thinking about it all the time, but you're always bleeding a little. i lived in the last place for about four years, and i'd forgotten what starting over is like.

even though i like it here, even though i was right to come, my life is not as good as it was back there, and it's a relief to say it out loud. it is not as good. it's even harder to admit, given that being together should just be categorically better than being apart. it is better to be together, but where i used to have a pretty rich, multifaceted life, i now have: him. perhaps this explains my unreasonable envy when he finds success these days.

i don't want him to go away. he saves this place. but i am quietly looking forward to the day that life here is the full package. i think it'll be better for both of us. in the meantime, it's no one's fault.

Sunday, November 16, 2003


the right honorable gentleman from dover-foxcroft.

tonight, watching television and having ice cream and bourbon at home after watching a play, the monkey nudged me and said,

"hey. want to play tony blair and the leader of the tories?"

and then winked.

so hot.

Saturday, November 15, 2003


i used to be a covert operative.

i've never mentioned him here, but the first time i came to new york, it was to visit somebody i thought i was going to marry. we weren't engaged; we weren't even really dating. we'd just been living with the understanding we were soulmates for a few years, and i was ready to do something about it.

it ended badly. to this day, i think we were pretty great for each other, although in retrospect he had some issues about communication that i think would have made longevity a challenge. i'd been in love with him big or small in one way or another since my freshman year of college, but when he finally blew me off, it hurt more than it had to. there were many months of him sort of refusing to speak to me, and not acknowledging my concerns that things were going badly. when i finally cornered him on the phone, he'd not returned three phone calls in as many weeks. he was suitably abashed, and used the word "promise" to assure me he'd call me in the next few days. he didn't.

he did call the next week, and i sort of knew the only conversation left to have was the one where we ended everything. still, though, i was upset to learn that there was someone else. or, rather, that we'd done some sort of weird dance in the months after i'd come to visit new york, rather than him just telling me what had happened. we had a three hour conversation. at one point he admitted he wasn't sure he was making a terrible mistake, but he felt a need to try things with this other person who had potential. he wanted to know if we could keep talking. i didn't want to lose all contact with him, but i wasn't sure i could handle phone conversations, so i told him he could write me a letter, and i'd write back. he got very intent about doing that--i'd just moved, and i started to give him my new address. he didn't have a pen.

he's a journalist. he didn't have a pen in his entire apartment.

i finally agreed to email him the address the next day, but i felt weird about it. i felt like i was leaving a door open for him to hurt me. i asked him three or four times if he was really going to write to me, and he said, "yes. i promise."

he never wrote, and now it's years later, and we've never spoken again. i called his apartment on september eleventh. there was a woman's name on the answering machine; they'd moved in together. once i found a story he wrote for his paper online about a trip they took to peru. it sounds like he made the right call--and i'm happier than i've ever been, so i guess everything turned out right. except i still mind that never called. i wish we were friends. and i wish he hadn't lied to me.

yesterday a friend said he'd run into someone who knew me from college. it turned out to be the journalist guy's ex-girlfriend (not the one he chose over me, but a different one--one who hated me while we were all in school because the guy and i were in love and acted like it, even though we weren't dating). i was pretty sure she still hated me, but he said, "she said you'd say that. she said to say she forgives you, and she thinks you're a really good actor, and she thinks you're going to make it here."

she didn't have to say that, and i'm actually very touched. but really, what's happened is this: she's still friends with him, and now he's gonna know i'm here. i had pictured this happening years later, on my terms. i thought i'd send a postcard or an email, and say simply that i was here, and if he wanted coffee we could have it. if he didn't, he didn't; but if he did i could finally find out what he thinks about all that bullshit that happened, and about how bad it felt. worse, now he's being told by an ex girlfriend who has the very friendship with him i wish i had.

anyway. that happened.

Thursday, November 13, 2003


on the other hand.

i'm reading at some sort of small-scale literary event here next month. details to follow, but you're all invited.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003


rich girl, eat some dirt.

there was a rich girl in my class (the class is over; the girl still exists). and i tried hard to believe my dislike of her was due to my own being shitty.

she's that just-out-of-college age, and graduated from northwestern, and is quite pretty and actually a good actor, especially given that she's just out of school. these are all things that could make me predisposed to hate her. she is also, it seems, a rich kid. i have sometimes liked rich people immensely, but sometimes when i don't like them, the fact that they have a lot of money really sticks in my craw. she has seen every broadway play running, apparently, and is going to see something at an off-broadway theatre that we're also seeing next weekend. i mentioned we were going the same weekend, and then admitted that by "seeing the play," i meant, "volunteer ushering for free." her face went dead, and then she said quickly, "oh. well. i know the director," and then flounced off.

later, she said something about pilates, and i asked her where she took class, and she said, "oh. well. we have someone come to the house," and then made a dismissive hand gesture that i think you learn at muffy vanderbilt's House of Charm for Girls of Wealth.

oh, fuck *off*.

Sunday, November 09, 2003


i'm ready for my hara-kiri, mister demille.

i feel like such a stupid baby jane. on friday night, in the times square station, i yelled, "i'm gonna be in a movie." with irony intact and all--it's not like i had delusions that i'd be best friends with glenn close and eric bogosian would get me salad from craft services, but . . .

oh. twelve hours. four-thirty to four-thirty. no pay. which i knew, but i didn't know about the twelve hours, or that the extras would be an indiscriminately mixed group of paid SAG background and, er, the rest of us. it's really demoralizing to do this sort of . . . i don't know, discouraging, slightly subhuman work and not get paid for it when the people around you are doing the exact same thing and are making cash. to top it off, no one ever said thank you, it was crack-your-teeth cold, i had to wear a fucking beret and velvet bike shorts (who thinks that's what someone wears to a loft party, crazy french wardrobe lady?), and the guy i was paired with for the last scene told me not only was he not SAG, he wasn't really an actor.

a friend was working on the film and told him that if he worked for three days as a SAG extra, he could join the union. this is true, although it's about to be changed. i got a little excited. if vouchers were given to non-union folk, this twelve hour hell might be worth it. when we were finally wrapped at four-thirty a.m., he beat me out of wardrobe and i saw him at the table with the PA in charge of background, signing the same forms and time cards that the SAG actors had. score, i thought. while he finished i walked up to the table and waited minutes for the overworked PA to make eye contact with me, and then asked him about the vouchers. he told me i could only have one if i knew someone higher up than him who could authorize it. and, i'm sure he'd been there for more than twenty hours. but he wasn't polite. he wasn't kind. and i'd just worked for twelve hours for free, and he couldn't have cared less. and some musician who's just "hoping to get into acting" is now on his way to being SAG while i continue to labor without the aid of unions formed to protect me. i asked if i was required back tomorrow, and he said dismissively that i could come if i wanted; they didn't really need me.

i'll say.

Saturday, November 08, 2003


well, it worked.

kind of. after two months of sending headshots and resumes to anyone who'd have them, i got a call last night. of a sort. a merchant-ivory film shooting here needs background--must need people badly, since the call came around nine p.m. last night, while i was waiting for the best one's surprise party to start.

i sort of hoped this would happen now, when i don't have a crummy job. it's a lot easier to blow a day being an extra when it's not your only day off. and i'll admit i'm excited to be on a big bad full budget film set.

maybe there'll be carrot sticks at the craft services.

Friday, November 07, 2003



that's what *you* think.


mirror, mirror.

i have a recurring dream. the dream is: i find a room in the place where i live that i have never seen before--or, rather, once i've found it, i realize i must have known about the room at some point, when i moved in, but i have since forgotten. and the feeling is always this extreme wonder . . . *how could i have missed this?*

first it was a room. then, as i grew hip to the dream, it was a boat. a pool. a yard. the last time i had it, the dream had morphed so much that it was orange juice that i had forgotten i had, but when i opened the fridge, the feeling was exactly the same. *how could i?*

i haven't had the dream much in the last few years. i dunno why. but when i do, it gets sneaky. like the orange juice. now, it's hours after i wake up when i realize, hey! it was the dream! disguised!

i had it last night about a hairbrush. a special one i've read about in a magazine, that would make my hair straight.

apparently, i've had the power all along.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003


i've had a revlonation.

it's funny, because the one who's least afraid just mentioned it, but i have my own drama with drugstore makeup. being a little girl with prematurely bad skin, i thought makeup was going to be my Way Out. i could never get it together to create peer-adequate hair or clothes, but makeup was next to godliness.

so i love the drugstore. and least-afraid has *seen* me pig out on revlon at the rite-aid on broadway in seattle. we're different, though: she finds one or two cheapies that delight her in the present moment, while i am constantly looking for The Answer. something that will work and make me feel better. like, zoloft.

so yesterday, i went to the Revlon Employee Store. private citizens are allowed in, but it's in the building that houses CBS, so you have to show ID and get a pass. and then you travel down an escalator into the bad concrete bowels of this building--not bad, just, they would never show them to CBS execs. the linoleum is chipped and the ceilings are low and have lots of crappy-looking vents. suddenly, you're mrs. frisby. and through one door is a classroom sized store of drugstore makeup at a median price of about a buck ninety nine.

it was like one of those roman feasts. i kept putting stuff in the basket, and then purging the basket and starting over.

confidential to you, my friend: i remember the pink. and moreover, i remember being the one who got to go with you to pick it out. ask me when i'm fifty. i'll say, sure i remember.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003


have you tried the cate blanchett?

we saw this awful movie. she died. afterwards, though, i was collapsed with a certain tenderness . . . life is different. it's like when you buy a house and suddenly all the burst pipes and flooring nails are your responsibility. he's my responsibility. i'd be homeless if i lost him.

Sunday, November 02, 2003


girls of st. maria goretti, we salute you.

i wish this had been a lesson *my* CCD.

the meek shall inherit my fucking ass.

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