Showing posts from August, 2006

david and lisa

When I grow up I want to be Lisa Glatt and David He rn andez . Both of them, simultaneously. They had a husband-and-wife reading gig last night at Casa Romantica —a ridiculously romantica villa-type venue in ridiculously beachy-beautiful San Clemente . David read his poetry, which I would call deceptively simple and precise and humorous and not really be doing it justice. I like his poetry because when it is about a garden, it doesn’t get to marigolds until a few stanzas in. It starts with trash bags slumped against a wall “like black pumpkins” and features maggots that look like rice until they start to move, at which point the narrator observes, “Not rice.” Lisa read a short story from her collection, The Apple’s Bruise . I like her writing because she has hard-to-love female protagonists, and it seems like hard-to-love male protagonists are more abundant in this world, and hence I don’t love them so much, just not for the obvious reasons. But I love Lisa’s, or at least I li

good stuff

Monday night, after eating tilapia and watching Weeds at Nicole’s, I wasn’t feeling well. But the tilapia with mango salsa was great, and no actual weed was consumed, so I’m left to attribute my sudden illness to Andrea “ that author who dances ” Seigel’s To Feel Stuff , which I finished reading later that night. This is a compliment. To Feel Stuff is about a Brown University sophomore named Elodie Harrington who’s afflicted with ailment after mysterious ailment, to the point where she takes up residence in the school infirmary. There she meets Chess Hunter, a student who’s had his kneecaps bashed in as part of an apparent spree of gang attacks. Until now, Chess has been something of a golden boy, an overachiever from an affluent and attentive family. At the second the crowbar hits his legs, he realizes for the first time that the good life is not inherently his for the having. Plunged into a new world fraught with doubt, he tu rn s to Elodie as a guide. She is—by nature a

brr, it’s cold in here! there must be some mustangs in the atmosphere!

Bonnie was cleaning out her files and found this picture I drew our senior year of high school. I’ve compiled some notes to accompany your appreciation and understanding of this work of art: 1) If you’ve studied my later work (i.e. meeting-doodles), you will note that my style has remained remarkably consistent, but now includes more scribbly ballpoint shading and clothing styles ripped from Rent . 2) The placing of the subjects in this portrait is deceptive. There is no way to tell that the 1994-’95 varsity cheer squad was bitterly divided, with the somewhat nerdier, dance-oriented Cheryl, Bonnie, Kristy and Janell on one side, and the more popular, football-player-oriented Gina, Sara , Hillary and Michelle on the other. I was particularly resentful of Hillary (though I’m sure she’s grown into a kind and lovely adult, damn her), so it’s odd that I drew myself next to her. There are several possible explanations for this. a. The picture was drawn at the beginning of

this is a feminist act

Jenessa was in town last night, which meant theory of the queer, psychoanalytic and postmode rn varieties, and gossip about what all our other high school friends are up to. Happy that Heather had a fun birthday and sad that Amy and her boyfriend broke up, we moved onto feminism—or maybe we were talking about reality TV, I can’t remember—and I complained, “I hate it when women try to call breast implants a feminist act. Like, ‘I did it for me ,’ as if that makes everything okay.” Jenessa stuck out her belly and gave it a Buddha-like rub. “ This is a feminist act.” We agreed that T-shirts bearing this proclamation needed to be printed. They could sell in the back of Bitch , right next to ads for The Keeper . Did I mention we were in line at a bakery when we were having this discussion? I ate a feminist chocolate-dipped apricot shortly thereafter. *** Speaking of queer theory—or rather queer fiction, which is actually really different from and sometimes even antithet

a donkey ride down memory lane

In one of Sue Grafton ’s alphabet mysteries ( A is for Alibi, B is for Burglar, C is for Corpse …you get the idea), of which I was very fond in high school, girl detective Kinsey Millhone confides that, while she’s no bloodthirsty killer, she’s glad she knows how to shoot a gun—that it’s just one of those skills that’s good to have, like drinking coffee black or driving stick. I don’t like loud noises, and I prefer my caffeinated beverages to end in “-uccino” (frapp-, capp-…you get the idea), but I have always been proud of myself for being able to drive a car with a manual transition. It makes me just a teensy bit butcher. But it’s a skill that had been fading fast, ever since I traded my ’87 Toyota Tercel for an automatic ’97 Honda Civic. I’ve been driving the latter for almost four years now, and have come to think of it as a fairly modest car in LA’s landscape of Hummers and Beamers and Honda Civics With $10,000 of Accessories Grafted Onto Them. Yesterday I was reminded

two truths and a lie

The last time I’d played the game was at cheerleading camp the summer before junior year. This time, when I walked into the party, a chick named Blue was saying she’d been a pimp for a while. And that was one of her truths. No one at cheer camp had even lied about anything that outrageous. We were at AK ’s ex’s house for a Gay Girls’ Game Night (and what is more gay-girlish than hanging out with your current’s ex ?). The first few people who went had truths like “I used to identify as transgendered” and lies like “I have 14 tattoos” (she only had six). I wracked my brain for what to say, and realized that most of the quirky truths I could summon were the same quirky truths I could summon in high school. Was I really that boring? Was I really the only girl at the party who’d never worked in the sex industry? I was relieved when someone’s lie was “I race BMX bikes,” and someone else’s truth was “I won a year’s supply of Maybelline cosmetics.” In my head, I rehearsed the follo

step up

Last night I went to my alma mater, Book Soup —where the bathroom is still smelly, but the children’s section is neater than it was under my domain—to hear a reading by Andrea Seigel , an author I like so much I’ve chosen not to hate her for being 26. (Also, envying someone for being young just feels like a cliché, like something that would make Andrea roll her eyes. Also , I really hope someone hates me for being 29. But when I look at it from that standpoint, I know there’s not all that much that’s enviable about being a young writer because it means that you either A) probably don’t have a lot of life experience to draw from, or B) have a really fucked-up childhood to draw from.) Anyway, I’m pretty sure Andrea’s not drawing on her fucked-up childhood, though she’s open about mining her youthful depression. The form this has taken most recently is To Feel Stuff , a novel about a chronically ill girl who lives in the Brown University infirmary. Apparently waffles and a ghosts a

preparing for dermatological disaster and dinner at the tennis club

I was interested in reading There Will Never be Another You by Carolyn See for two reasons: 1) I got a free copy, and 2) it sounded from the jacket description like it might accomplish what I’ve been trying to do with my current project, which is take the family saga into the global world . The premise is this: Edith is a recent widow, the kind of narrator people might call “feisty,” which would make her want to smack them. She wants to maintain some dignity. She wants something to do after 7 p.m. Phil is her son, a UCLA Med Center dermatologist with a crappy family life he’s too lazy to do much about. One day Phil is recruited to be part of a semi-secret emergency response team—one that will respond to anthrax poisonings, urban Ebola outbreaks and the like. The directions he receives and the drills he practices are mysterious and seemingly ineffectual. If I came down with Ebola, I wouldn’t want Phil or his equally confused teammates taking care of me. In a side plot, two UCLA stude

did you ever know…? hopefully you did not

Last night I tagged along with AK to a fundraiser for foster youth . The entertainment at the benefit included a jazz singer who modified her inspirational standards to fit the event. As in, “Did you ever know that you’re my hero, and everything I would like to be? I can fly higher than an eagle…and so can these kids with a little help from you kind folks tonight. Who wants to enter a raffle to win a free Kia from Glendale Kia?” When that particular song started, AK’s coworker Jess said, “That’s my favorite song. We need to leave immediately.” Because the P.A. system was so loud that it drowned out all sarcasm and nuance, AK’s other coworker thought she was serious about being a Bette Midler fan and said, “I’ll stay five more minutes, and then we should go.” But I have to admit…I kind of do like “Wind Beneath My Wings.” It’s not subtle, but it’s pretty, and it doesn’t seem fair that it has been voted Official Representative of Cultural Cheese, when there are so many more w

best dyke reply of the year

And the winner is...Erin R. with back-up from Erin G.: .

a pineapple for you

1. come to the going-away cabaret B is moving to Indiana. I paused after I wrote that sentence because there was a time when I would have asked her permission to blog about her (she’s always been a little on the private side , by which I mean she’s convinced that the black helicopters are after her). If that time was still this time, I’d be wrapping picture frames in bubble wrap and heading for Bloomington right now. Time is weird. That’s the big profound thought that formed in my brain and smudged my mascara as I stood on what used to be my street corner Saturday night with my new, jaw-droppingly understanding girl, trying to psych myself up to venture into a going-away party for my former girl. I told AK about the palm tree and pineapple my mom had painted on our cabinets when B and I decided, for no particular reason, that our kitchen needed a tropical theme. I said it partly as insurance, because what if AK had looked around and whispered, “And why is there a fucking pineapple

mr. crackhead's opus

You know those Leslie Nielsen spoofs that stitch together allusions to a bunch of movies in a particular genre? And how that torch has been passed to the Wayans brothers in recent years? I’m really surprised that neither party has made a Renegade White Teacher Inspires Inner City Students movie (that I know of). There are so many movies to draw from that every time a new one comes out, I’m like, “Really? Still?” Of course there are slight variations, like Renegade Latino Teacher Inspires Inner City Students and Renegade Ex-Marine Teacher Inspires Inner City Students , but after a while it all feels kind of uninspiring. My sister Cathy teaches algebra and geometry at a school th at people would probably describe as “inner city,” meaning that it’s poor, black and Latino, even though it’s technically in the suburbs. Cathy is one of those people who always wanted to be a teacher (well, at least since she decided being a professional clown chef wasn’t realistic), and when she was nine sh

awake/less awake

Siesta is a black dot of yin in the middle of day’s white yang. I hear this on the radio, tires lazing across Silver Lake pavement post-meeting. The heat wave has lifted just enough to make us remember night. The industrial revolution made words like industrious into compliments, poured them molten into moulds, threw sleep and bare branch into the river. I am dragging the polluted water in search of what died. It’s muddy down here and meaty. Something’s always brewing in the land of baby fat and long pauses. Of course I don’t find it. Look at me with my oxygen tank, thinking, I’ll live here for 12 months like it’s a junior year in Spain. In Spain sleep disorders are on the rise. In the name of an orderly workplace naps have been nixed, but people are defiant, still dining at ten, dancing themselves ragged. A castanet’s click is a white wink of yang. I aborted a nap to type this.