Friday, March 30, 2007

Dear Jay McInerney,

No Bob Saget, I will not make out with you…

Oh, all right. Don’t make a scene!

So I’m at The Waverly Inn with a snifter of brandy, revising my latest literary work and I’m thinking to myself: Self—this is living, this is New York and this is what it’s like to be fabulous and wearing the right shoes and being vibrant and sceney and colorful and above average—wait, scratch that, Self—you better be kidding or else the next round will be a LAX stick across the shins…

So I’m at The Waverly Inn, gulping down my second glass of expensive Pinot because I’m meeting my writing teacher who is clearly way hipper than I am because this is her chosen venue and I’m trying to look like I belong when a socialite who I’m sure I’m supposed to know but I don’t because I can’t ever keep up with that stuff spills her Kettel One all over my knee (did you know they refuse to serve Grey Goose there? Yes, yes, they know who your father is and no, they still won’t serve it to you, you pompous jerk—the bartenders are really affable guys and one looks just like Bill Nighy in tight jeans and frankly, I kind of fell in love with them the moment they said they had one beer for sale and that was it). So here I go—hey, it’s okay, don’t worry about it, no it’s totally fine, and she looks concerned so I think maybe she’s going to pay for the cleaning bill or toss a diamond my way—helping the plebeians and all—but I doth protest too much or something so she pattered off in flats and I was back to my wine and no one to talk to. Dang.

Enter my teacher and then some married guy who insists on shots of Patrone at 7:30 PM.

Dude, come on. I mean, do you see where we are right now? Don’t be a fool! It’s Jager and Bud Lights or nothing. (Zing! I got a million of ‘em.)

So he’s married, but that doesn’t stop him from touching her thighs and my butt and we’re a tad uncomfortable because the guy is really nice (okay he was buying us drinks—zing! What did I tell you about having a million jokes?), but no, he actually is pretty nice, but he’s getting handsy and we need fries so we order them and we look around and who do we see but Mr. Bob Saget negotiating a table in the front?

So I go up to him and the host tells him that his table’s first and I kind of throw my elbow out and I go And my table is last! Hey-o! and Bob’s actually really nice and talks to me for a hot second before I run off so that I can end the story without ruining it.

Another guy next to us at the bar keeps offering us artichoke and chicken and it’s pretty fantastic (I know the place got a so-so review, and maybe it was the ambiance and all the pretty people and Patrone, but I really thought the food was good and the staff was extremely helpful and friendly and all in all I think the man's Midas touch brought a really great slice of old literary elite back in style and I’m thankful for it).

So I go to the bathroom and I’m digging the dancing zebra wallpaper and I wonder if I can bring back the phrase “digging” and I come out and Russell Simmons and I have a brief, but intense staring contest (he won) and I go back to my teacher and I go—holy crap, Russell Simmons is here! And she’s not impressed because she saw him last week, but the guy next to us wants to do more shots and we sort of look at each other, having talked about none of the things we said we were going to, namely cleaning up the first few chapters of my novel so that it can be sent out and someone might be fooled into thinking it's halfway decent, and we kind of have this unspoken thing like we can leave right now with the illusion of dignity or not, so we leave and we talk to some guys in a black Suburban staking out the place, presumably for Page Six, and I hand her what’s there of my novel and beg her to read it and I kind of hope out loud that she cuts me a break on her fees because even though the guy who started the soap opera Passions bought our last house and insisted that my dad install a dog elevator, we live in a much smaller house now, I mean it's not the 90s anymore is it, and I don't make much money and my parents don't hand out much either and I go home thinking, wow, I kind of got away with being there tonight, and almost fit in and it kind of felt pretty great…now if only I could learn to quit while I’m ahead…

An old exercise revisited...but does stream of city consciousness suit my style?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Want some cheese with that whine?

“What do you smell? Stone fruit, citrus, a hint of cat urine perhaps?”

I’ve been to many a wine tasting and seminar and they’re always a bit daunting, always a bit intimidating when someone exclaims the undertone of chocolate in the Pinot Noir is heightened by briary essence and barnyard (AKA manure). Even more so when the sommelier nods in vigorous agreement and you yourself look sourly into your glass: half angry that you don’t taste it, half extremely glad you can’t.

You are part of the intelligentsia if you exclaim that a certain Sauvignon Blanc has a hint of cat urine, or that other varietals are full of soil or minerals, but apparently, do not ever say the red’s reminiscent of dried rose. Cause that means the wine has been bottled by an amateur. Go figure.

Yesterday I attended such a gathering with four dazzling wines filled to the brim only to compliment the main event: a white plate studded with a circle of eight glorious slabs of cheese. It was my first official cheese class, though in my line of work I’ve been fortunate enough to attend others (nibbling behind the curtains, that is, straining to hear the famous chefs, hand shaking from the weight of the bottle I held, ever ready to spring out and jump upon patrons to top off their glasses). But last night I paid my way like a grown-up and so I had a proper seat and before the first cheese was tasted, I promptly knocked my fork to the floor, and as it thundered through the acoustics, I understood completely why I shouldn’t be allowed at such classy events unless on staff.

The cheeses ranged from fresh and firm and milky white to 65% butterfat, oozing gold through their chalky encasings. One was a long and nutty cheddar, another a heavily veined blue, one the only lightly pasteurized goat’s milk cheese worth trying, peppered with several layers of rind, noted by ash. Some of them were pretty darn stinky. As in burned both my nostrils and my mouth. You know a cheese is good when you feel nose membranes and mouth tissue sear simultaneously.

My favorite of the night was a tie between the Brescianella Stagionata (described as an exceptional washed-rind, soft-ripened, cow’s milk cheese from Lombardy with a beautifully smooth, sweet paste--wonderful rich flavors and a lingering, grassy aftertaste, but really, this is the one that burned me so fabulously) and the Bayley Hazen Blue (an aggressive Vermont blue with a woody, natural rind like tree bark).

Our cheesemonger, the famed Waldemar Albrecht, explained to us it all began in the Middle East, when desert trekkers had accidentally churned and curdled milk in their carried hide skins. He navigated the difference ranging from buffalo to mare and how cheese is the perfect fermented food and should always be eaten with the perfect fermented drink (wine or in some cases, beer). He stressed how Artisanal was the first empire to age cheese in temperature controlled caves, how some specific and incredible raw milk cheeses are illegal here (not to get into politics, he noted, his Venezuelan lilt straining over the words) and finally, hinted at the education one could obtain while under study at such a prestigious fromagerie; milking the animals at dawn and dusk, pouring off whey and salting for hours, boots heavy with earth (and finally, what I imagine to be blindfold tastings administered by a large headmistress with a large whip: “Non, non, non! Eeest Roquefort, imbecile! Non Stilton! Now go clean the bidets!” Though in fact this last item was not mentioned, I am convinced it is true.).

And suddenly, as impulsive as I have always been, I got really excited. I thought, gee, that sounds a lot cooler than grad school for creative writing…maybe I can sign up to work on a farm for a few months as a monger in training…

Ah, to be young…and covered in cheese…a lofty goal if there ever was one.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Best conversation ever

"So, it was fun?"

"Yeah...pretty good...but..."

"But what?"

"Well, the night kind of ended in a danceoff."

"Ha. Really? Did you win?"

"Yeah...but...when the night ends with a danceoff, everybody loses."

Friday, March 23, 2007

And I'm back with the 808

Scandinavian prog-rock hipsters and soaring stop-motion animation flashbacks

Psycho-sexual retelling of Snow White in Chelsea

Red velvet cake

Finally getting those candy bapes

The famous backless shirt and Slate

American Apparel made baby gifts handed over at Alice’s Tea Cup

Chromeo’s Fancy Footwork on repeat, twizzle, saying “Paperboy” in that Family Guy voice and the final hours of Sunday

The weekend, in this order, starts in 3…2…1…

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Miracle Workers

Chocolate chip pancakes and milk on Sundays

Couch naps

Spring daylight savings

The paycheck after the one that covers the rent

Book club meetings at Chumley’s where the beer flows like wine

Still getting mix CDs from a boy, long after it stopped being cool

Doodling in a work notebook during a meeting and not getting caught

Not getting caught in general; in the rain, sneaking out early, zoning out

Bleached tile, a potent air freshener, clean socks on wooden floors

Saying or seeing Pomeranians, pomegranates, pom-poms

Head massages with that wire thing at the mall kiosk

The imperceptible shift from intimidated to intimidating

Second drafts and second chances

Concert tickets, restaurant reservations, any activity planned by someone else

The touch of new suede, old leather or puppies

Cracking open the seal of the shampoo bottle, the orange juice jug, the packaging of something expensive and electronic

The zoo on a cool day, Cirque de Soleil, a dark lawn in summer, an aquarium anytime

A working pen and a working mind

The hour before the alarm goes off, the minute after the job is offered, the second before the first kiss…

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Fear, loathing and angst for sale, or really, for free

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

The internet is ruining everything good in this life. How else would I be sharing my burgeoning yoga crushes (um, so this is awkward, last night I scooted to the front of the class and found myself smiling an awful lot and twice tossing my bangs for her) with a veritable ocean of readers (let’s pretend more than two people read this, one of them being my mom, again, awkward)? How else would I have made several virtual friends (and honestly like them more than most people I’ve met in a while)? How else would I feel comfortable crying, whining, contemplating on a page that will exist long after the duty of being ironic and in a city and hopeless stops being modestly cool? And finally, how else would I be pushed into one uncompromising position after the next (hey, I’m not complaining, it’s interesting to say the least) and get away with exclaiming that it’s not my fault?

I could not be this obnoxious twenty or even five years ago. I would not have expected the world, been so selfish and self-serving, fueled and invigorated by the clique, the one-massed mind, would not have thought I could own everything I see, like everyone does. The pie is finite, we forget. But our electronic connection is not. These things are at odds.

There was no platform like this before now. No immediacy before emotions cool and no thought to igniting blog wars, jealousies, measurements by who we are because of how we gauge others, our myspace friend count, our visibility in gossip rags. No barometer in link form, where the new society is who is trash-talking the best, spilling their guts more, who has the balls to be hated in order to become loved. We are a generation of ankle-biting slackers, we created our own self-loathing and moved to ‘billionsburg’, we want our music to be too obscure to share with the masses, our styles controversial and unflattering, our mannerisms even in earnest are name-calling, put-downs and bored. Our inadequacies are laughable by our own design. We hate money and beauty to garner both, maybe unknowingly, maybe not.

We know too much about our competition, we felt fine until we could read so much about how successful or happy everyone else has become. Now job searches include profiling profiles; the people in charge can’t understand how we could tell everyone what we think of them all of the time and we can’t imagine a world where we don’t. It’s too lonely. It’s too fading into the relief. It’s too scary to imagine that no one knows us, or worse, that no one cares.

We want to be talked about, or else our lives aren’t worth living. I blame the internet, not myself or my friends or my fellow bloggers better and worse; not the people behind the refreshed pages of Jossip, Pingoat, the curled edges of Page Six, no, not them, but instead their institutions for this. Technology, society, You Tube, New York is to blame! (I like to lay blame, just not at my own feet, cool?). We weren’t ready, we weren’t mature enough to handle it all, we didn’t realize what we were doing just because we were stupid and young and full of angst. Our parents got to drop acid and move on.

But our journey floats forever, is googled forever, our bad poetry read forever…

And my lasting thought is this:

I cringe to think that someday, my kids will be reading these words. They’ll hate me, of course, because I exist, but even more I wonder if they’ll feel a special kind of horror. One in which they understand exactly what I’m talking about…

Monday, March 19, 2007


A dove visited me this morning.

There were in fact, two doves on my windowsill as I pushed out a yawn at the edge of the bed. The room’s light at that time of day is more cubed than slanted--panels pale out on the walls and even though it’s beautiful, I am always annoyed to wake like this: the drone of NPR over my alarm, the weighted knowing I have to rise and pretend to be an adequate adult, playing my own game of high-stakes-grown-up-pretend for yet another day...

They were quiet and they looked at me with big pupil-y eyes.

They cooed and I blinked back. NPR faded out and I was barefoot and standing and looking at them and I decided it would be the greatest day of my life if I could just not put on shoes.

Time to get a-writing. If two doves are not a sign that the next chapter needs to be written before Wednesday, that’s fine. But I like to see what I want to see. My heroine has shacked up with two hippies at a Colorado zoo (blue tea not necessary) and they have much more of the country to cover...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Pilates, Crushes, etc.

There was a time in which I was in ’like’, semi-deep, meaningful love-in-training, but now, I’m shopping around. He left the gym for greener pastures in Chelsea and I was left brokenhearted, with tight shoulders.

So I did what any girl in my situation would do. I looked around for an answer, or simply a substitute, secretly aspiring to come upon someone even better than the first. That would have just been frosting, but I love frosting. And what happened is that I ended up at the same old starting point. The act that had abandoned me in the first place. It became time to get back on the horse.

The Pilates horse.

I’m telling you, this and this alone is the answer to all the world’s problems. There is nothing better for a single yearning for a connection. Actually, as I’ll elaborate, it could be a little too good. It might be my new Nia(though our class is planning a Costa Rican trip where apparently we will only eat fruit, swing in hammocks and work out in our bathing suits in the surf so Nia, my first love, will always come out ahead).

Back to Pilates, my surrogate for a meaningful relationship or boyfriend. Wait, it’s better than both of those. There are no arguments, no jealousy, no picking up strewn socks. It’s the best relationship for the self-indulgent. It’s pretty much all about what an exquisite creature you are. Whatever’s left is filled with compliments on how your body moves and finally, how in love the universe is with that movement.

It moves you lean, limber, open. It defines free-wheeling. Bare feet, pumping bass, low lighting. Everyone on their backs, lithe instructors of both sexes suddenly upon you to align and touch, move your hips apart or spread their fingers across the small of your back. It sounds kind of shady because it kind of is. It’s one hour, in and out. No one knows each other’s last names. And that’s how they like to keep it.

My new Pilates class is filled with girls in shorts and tank tops arching to Outkast, and one attractive instructor who, as I was in child’s pose, came behind me, and gave me a backrub. A long one. In the middle of class. At the base of my spine and then, a little lower.

Then when a firm hand crept up my neck, a whisper in my ear, “Is this okay?” And I think my voice cracked when I said, “Uh. Sure?”

Did I mention my new instructor is an adorable girl who’s probably about a year older than me?

Before you ask if I could possibly have more screwed up interactions with women I don't know, let me lay this last factoid on you. The paramount reason it felt so wrong was because just the day before, my Amazonian yoga teacher pressed my legs to the air in one swift motion, stared straight into my eyes and said, “You’re gonna be really good someday. I can just tell.”

I’m just not a person who feels comfortable cheating. On her bizarre girl-crushes, that is.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Decision time? Maybe.

Dates that involve strong cocktails and lobster sandwiches at The Mermaid Inn must always be fantastic (I’m guessing, this was my first time at one of those beautiful little places just down the block, maybe a little too close, as though that’s an excuse for never having gone) but for some reason mine was especially great.

And too formal apparently, but I had new earrings and my mother’s favorite saying in mind (“Better to be overdressed than underdressed—always.” This may explain why our Easters always consisted of newly purchased hats.).

The oysters before, the chocolate mousse afterwards, and somewhere in between I became full and full of joy, even in the middle of a harrowing life change, one way or another. Job vs. school. Relationship vs. alone. These things are not at odds with one another. There is time for all, there is no exclusivity of following any.

I’m starting to feel at ease.

It’s not just the time shift this weekend. It’s because I’ve made a decision to make a decision. I can’t make apologies for changing my mind; I do it too often. But at least the path that I’m on, I will have written the map.

Good feelings abound, the universe is crystalline with a fruit puree rimmed martini glass in hand. Things change and I change, too.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


To my fellow wanna-bes:

I feel your pain. This purgatory is exhausting; the afterthoughts, the hindsight, the lamentation of saying “only if” and “but”. The rolling eyes, the wondering what and how…the never-ending waiting on that final green light for careers, schools, book proposals, auditions, slots in congress, what have you.

The internet is supposed to make our lives easier. We understand this in a cerebral way but not in application. Not when we can refresh our inboxes multiple times a minute. Not in application when it comes to checking applications.

If you, like me, are waiting on acceptance (okay, that just sounds hilarious), you may be using the internet in bad ways. You may be perusing message boards; you may be hearing many tales of fabulous applicants getting slammed. Kids, you believe, far better than you, are currently being turned away in droves. There is more than one story circulating of a fantastic, published writer who sent out nine MFA applications only to receive nine unceremonious rejections. So what chance does that leave us hacks?

I can’t help but, in the middle of this, draw on a college experience.

The film my roommate and I shot our senior year centered around two pretentious kids making the worst movie ever (not to their knowledge of course) to get into film school (I won’t name which one).

Their movie was an extension of what they loved about their own artsy tendencies, their own trade-in-the-grass-for-city-dreams. A birthday cake was a sushi platter with candles. A fake beard was involved. A lamp stalked through campus with a knife. All the while, one of the main characters shrieked poetry: “Sideways I walk, sideways I learn, sideways I fall, and my womb burns! Womb burns! Womb burns!”

In the movie, my movie, they got in (the committee thought they were being ironic).

Art imitates life imitates art.

There is a newly minted MFA student to a top-top-program whose writing consists, and I kid you not, of the following sentiments: black rain, sleepless poetry, methamphetamines, the life of a writing implement.

I’m not saying this kid doesn’t deserve to get in (not out loud), but I am saying that’s one less spot. And subjectivity is so much. Maybe the writing sounds genius to you (my thoughts have been way off the mark before), maybe it sounds idiotic, but regardless, the spot is gone from someone else, who in another’s opinion is something different, something more important. That someone else could be you (thankfully, I didn’t apply there, so it’s not me).

The point is this. External praise does not character make. Prizes, promotions, a bold-faced name, these things don’t feed what is really important about being a human being. Loving something, helping something, molding something…these are more worthwhile causes.

And if what you set your sights on did not work out at one arbitrary given moment (who says you have to be x, y and z before you hit 30? I'm guessing it could just be your inner voice that you can't squash), kick back, enjoy another period of making yourself better for the next round, and do it again. Don’t get discouraged over this, over anything. So much of breathing is reacting, maneuvering, flowing over the rock. Don’t think the end. Think Zen.

You will find a way. To get that brass ring, to fuel the motivation for chasing your dream. If you’re waiting to hear right now on some decisions that you’ve laid the groundwork for and now it’s in someone else’s hands, take heart.

You are good enough, you are smart enough, whether people even like you or not.

So fellow writers, grad students, first jobbers, life-changers, almost activists, reachers-to-become famous/adored/validated, those looking for boyfriends and girlfriends, pets, anti-debt, and everyone unsure, stay in the game. Look around. See if what is freaking you out is as important as you thought it was two months ago.

Wherever you’re supposed to be going, you’ll end up there eventually. Relax and let it flow. Believe it.

I will if you will.

Haven’t heard from anywhere important yet…and starting to not mind if I ever do. In the meantime: Om.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Pride and Second Thoughts

So I applied to graduate school in...let’s call it a frenzied way. I decided on a whim after much trauma, much drama. I looked at an often-debated 1997 U.S. News and World Report ranking of writing programs and jotted down the names that I had seen before and others that sounded like they’d be somewhere cool (ooh, Hawaii). I went to their websites and got stars in my eyes. They all sounded amazing, they all sounded way too good for me. Some programs I would love to get for a myriad of reasons, and not all of them important or meaningful. I’m ashamed to say some are on the list simply for the impress factor, or because it's just really, really cool to run off into the sunset.

Those programs, the ones for which I’ve put the last few months on the line, for the most part, have a 2-5% acceptance rate.

As if it’s not hard enough to be a wanna-be writer in Manhattan? I’ve got a better chance of getting a blogging book deal than gaining a prized assistantship.

Other programs, well, I didn’t even realize they existed. Not until I started obsessively checking MFA boards for acceptances and rejections, feeding the frenetic pulse, the screaming, the wailing, the sour grapes, the finger pointing. People are freaking out over places I hadn’t even considered and I’m kicking myself. Wait, how many schools are on the California coast? Wow. Someone tell me why I thought schools on the eastern seaboard were the only ones that I might be suited for.

Some of these other programs sound incredible. Full funding, by the water, combined art degrees, installations as part of writing, laid back faculty, multiple literary magazines and unmatched teaching opps. And the odds are better (around 11%--but who’s counting). I applied to 10 schools, I’m waiting to hear from 9, and how I wish I had applied to 8 more…I want to go somewhere that will be good for me, not just for my resume, if I’m lucky enough for even that.

Maybe I’ll stay in New York for another year, write the next 100 pages of my novel, and do it right next Fall…I’m starting to get a little nostalgic about the grit, the noise and the bars, and once again, am back to the confused puddle I can never pull my feet from.

I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing with my life but like all silly kids I think the answer may materialize in the sunshine…

Sunday, March 04, 2007

What took him so long?

Okay. I just had to type this as I may be witnessing the "Alien Autopsy" of '07. James Cameron (of Terminator and Titanic fame) has found the bones of Jesus? And is exposing said blanched artifacts, right now, as we speak, on The Discovery Channel?

You. Must. Turn. This. On.

My only question is, why didn't he wait to release this around some religious movie opening that he produced?


Actually, that's not my only question.

It's just that...seems like that would make the most sense. Not that I think I'm smarter than the guy who found THE BONES OF JESUS, but, you know...

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Comments are powerful on powerful blogs. The discourse slopes around mysterious bends. It’s exhilarating to get heated, if only by the warm glow of a computer, the emission of a florescent buzz overhead. We’re lost in the dingy sea of office-work-gym sometimes. The computer brings us comfort, bonding, nameless connection. And it becomes meaningful because of just that.

We need this, it moves us, it’s entertainment, edutainment even, because we learn something about those we look at, maybe even an emotion is stirred within ourselves. We learn a little bit about how we react, and with that revelation comes a choice. We can view it bare bones and take it in. We can alter it. We decide if we’d want others to know how we are or if we can stifle it just a little bit, having purged it in our online alter egos before we turn out on the rest of the world. Calmer and more decent. Palatable vanilla.

A shout out, misconstrued, brings motion.

Enough to drive unexpected traffic and accusations, catapult scandal, judgment, excitement, everything we love and we hate about our time in this life, media, the fashion of New York. For those of you who have come for an explanation, I almost don’t want to give it. There has been too much flutter on a Wednesday evening to give it up now, it feeds the ego (mine of course, these lame ramblings are being read, all press is good press, judge me for being youngish, it’s the first I’ve been called that in a while, and I’m apt to enjoy it to ameliorate my wrongs, my vices) and it means something has happened.

I’m on a small soapbox; I may never have another chance; I want to shout out something important, pro life/pro choice/anti gun/pro gun/anti-carbs/pro-fiber...What political stance would make the biggest splash? Pro-cubicle? Anti-vacation? I’m against…pens…the color red…water?

I am not #6, but now I’m sort of wishing I was (if only for the infamy!). I want to be even more delusional; I would love to not be painfully self-aware of everything that is wrong with me without any idea of who I really am, just for a moment. Though I could never use the word “lover” without cringing. For those of you who know me, that alone should have given it away.

So many times I’ve tried to articulate who I am and what I do. I’ve fallen short in descriptors of family and friends. I’m writing a book, I’m applying to grad school, I have not one shred to show for it. It's all a wash of posturing and lukewarm talent.

But I have one thing to lean on and it is this. Thankfully, I am not a person who has been cut out by people in her life, not to my knowledge. I like to think that people, for the most part, tend to keep me around, if only for the loudness, the self-deprecation, the ironic T-shirts and absurd stories. I’ve just been misplaced by one, and well, you know how I feel by my comment what she was like anyway…and her initials are not SK.